Review – Redemption – Long Night’s Journey Into Day – by Progradar

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! L.A. based prog metallers Redemption return with a supremely impressive example of the genre – ‘Long Night’s Journey Into Day’.

Taking the title of Eugene O’Neill’s play Long Day’s Journey Into Night, which focuses on the decay of a family that’s plagued by addiction, Redemption have turned it inside out, and made it their own.

Inverting the phrasing of the title is really what Redemption’s message is about.”, says founder guitarist/keyboardist Nick van Dyk, “It’s a long night. It’s a journey, and at times it’s a struggle. But there is daybreak.

He goes on to say, “If there’s a consistent message to Redemption’s music, it’s that life is a struggle and there is pain and fear and doubt, but, ultimately, it is a thing of beauty and wonderment. If you push through the struggle, the rewards of that process itself, along with what you find on the other side, are joyous and a fantastic gift.”

With the band – rounded out by bassist Sean Andrews and drummer Chris Quirarte – parting company with vocalist Ray Adler (ex Fates Warning), they had to bring someone in who could fit some very large shoes and Tom Englund of Evergrey certainly fits that bill!

Absent from the band’s lineup is lead guitarist Bernie Versailles, who suffered an aneurysm in 2014, and has since been focusing on his recovery. ‘Long Night’s Journey Into Day’ does however see the quartet collaborating with guitarists Simone Mularoni (DGM/Empyrios), and the legendary Chris Poland, both of whom also supplied astounding leads on ‘The Art Of Loss’. Alongside these longtime collaborators they also recruited keyboardist Vikram Shankar, who van Dyk asserts “may be the most talented musician I have ever met.”

Legendary prog metal contempories Dream Theater are due to return with a new album in 2018 and after the general disappointment of ‘The Awakening’, they are really going to have to come up with something to upstage this sixty-five minute behemoth of twin guitar brilliance, thunderous rhythm section and astounding vocal performance from Englund.

It’s easy to say that there isn’t a duff track on an album but, for fans of the band (and prog-metal in general), it’s most certainly true of ‘Long Night’s Journey Into Day’. It’s a well thought out collection of tracks dealing with themes of recovering from failure, dealing with the end of a chapter in our lives, coming to terms with one’s mortality or experiencing a betrayal and struggling through its impact.

The mountain crushing riffing and energetic rhythm section are aided and abetted by fantastic keyboards and Englund relates tales of adaptation (Impermanent), doubts that fill the void when one’s integrity is lacking (Eyes You Dare Not face In Dreams), living life to the fullest, no matter how hard it can be (Indulge in Colour) and the superb title track of which van Dyk says, “We see a lot of dreams and hoped-for-outcomes dashed by our own failings or by factors outside our control, but dreaming is essential to realizing the beauty of life. Life is amazing and depressing and carefree and terrifying and full of hope and love and full of fear and doubt…But it is, in the final calculus, beautiful and an incredible gift. And we must keep on dreaming.

The consummate skill of the musicians shines though on every track, the twin virtuoso guitar skills of Mularoni and Poland have to be heard to be believed and the rhythm section of Andrews and Quirarte really do move mountains. However, it’s not all about power and energy, the expertise and passion flows throughout.

There’s nothing new here but what you do get is progressive metal created and delivered at its absolute best, a band surely at the top of its game and looking like they are there to stay for a very long time. Bring on the challengers!

Released 27th July 2018

Order the album in all formats at Metalblade here

 

 

Review – Lux Terminus – The Courage To Be – by Progradar

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart.” – Helen Keller.

To a music mad amateur journalist like me, that statement applies to music just as much as anything else, if not more! When I hear an inspirational new piece of music for the first time, it can really hit me right in the heart and send it soaring with its beauty.

Let’s be honest, we reviewers listen to so much music that it is easy to become jaded and we could say that it would take something very special indeed to inspire us compared to the man (or woman) in the street. That could just be pretentious tosh but, recently, a new album landed in the inbox that really fits what I’m trying to say to a tee. Let me tell you more…

Lux Terminus (translated as “the light at the end”) was formed in 2016 by three musicians with a shared vision to create unique and powerful instrumental music. Their debut release ‘The Courage to Be’ is a powerful first statement from the progressive rock trio,which consists of keyboardist Vikram Shankar (Redemption), drummer Matthew Kerschner, and bass guitarist Brian Craft.

The album features guest performances from several acclaimed musicians: vocalist Anneke Van Giersbergen (ex-The Gathering, Devin Townsend Project, VUUR, et al.), guitarist Timo Somers (Delain, Vengeance), and cellist Raphael Weinroth-Browne (Leprous, Musk Ox).

Put simply, ‘The Courage To Be’ is a groundbreaking instrumental release that takes themes of separation, hardship, hope and transcendence and turns them into an instrumental masterpiece. The incredible keyboard skills of Vikram Shankar are at the forefront of this superbly involving sixty-one minutes of pure musical theatre and that is not belittling the skilled contributions of Kerschner and Craft whose rhythm section adds pure virtuoso drive and impulse.

From the elegantly gentle Prologue: Departure (I), which is part one of a four part thematical musical suite, through the infectious driving grooves of Elctrocommunion, this skillful trio deliver unique and powerful instrumental tracks that just make your heart sing.

There’s intricate and convoluted (Aberration), jazz-funk at its best (Miles Away) and progressive metal, rock, jazz fusion, electronic, and cinematic influences galore, all of which contribute to a dominant first statement from these excellent musicians.

Every track is worthy of praise but the real stand out piece for me is the twenty-one minute orchestrally driven brilliance of the title track featuring Timo Somers. Described as ‘high octane jazz-fusion’, it will literally send your aural receptors into melt down as it ebbs and flows to a manically intense rhythm. I really feel that the band are having as much fun as you can legally have on this track and it’s worth the price of entry alone!

You want your keyboard based progressive instrumental with a more laid back and moody feel? Take Journey (II), Spectral Shapes or The Road Home (III) and the stylish piano and keyboard that adorn them, this album has it all.

To finish, the sultry vocals of Anneke Van Giersbergen grace the lovely Epilogue: Fly (IV), the closing part of our four part suite, a heartwrenchingly beautiful four minutes of pared back delight and a perfect way to close the album out and bring your heart rate back to normal.

Well, what can I say, it really does take something special to get me waxing lyrical about a new release nowadays but ‘Courage To Be’ is one of those rare albums that excites and inspires from the first listen but that will also have the longevity to keep you listening to it in many months to come. Virtuoso musicianship along with intelligent, involving songwriting, Lux Terminus have surely seen the light of the tunnel with this utterly captivating release.

Released 24th August 2018

Order the album from bandcamp here