Album: This Mortal Coil
Genre: Progressive Metal
Since 2003 Redemption have delivered biannual goodness to the progressive metal world. Like clockwork the band has stuck to their schedule and Redemption are set to release a follow up to 2009’s Snowfall on Judgment Day. While an album every other year may not seem too impressive, one must explore some events that have transpired in the last three years. Redemption’s mastermind and composer Nick van Dyk was diagnosed with blood cancer, and given five years to live. Nick went into an aggressive treatment, and now looks to be a lucky man, likely cured of his disease. These events might have brought many people’s production to a screeching halt, but with Nick it seems to have only brought inspiration. Though not written directly about Nick’s battle with cancer, This Mortal Coil explores the most serious topic associated with it; our mortality and the fact that one day we will all face it.
While lyrically content may have changed, musically I don’t think many will be scratching their heads wondering what band this is. Redemption seems to have carved out their own little niche in the progressive metal world, setting themselves apart from many other bands in the genre. However I think for the first time with This Mortal Coil that perhaps the band is getting a bit too comfortable in their corner. With this album I find myself thinking I’ve heard things before, with sections of “Dreams From the Pit” sounding eerily like a song on a previous album. Neil Kernon who recorded and mixed the album seems to have made this album sound a tad dryer than the previous two, leading to a small hint of staleness in the final product.
Despite these complaints This Mortal Coil delivers in a variety of ways. If you liked Redemption before then chances are you’re going to like this album. Nick’s signature songwriting is still strong and tracks like “Path of the Whirlwind” and “Blink of an Eye” still bring the intense riffs and energy Redemption fans have come to expect. “Let it Rain” and “Focus” feature some fantastic keyboard and piano playing, a nice counterpunch to the often guitar driven arrangements. And it’s certainly nice to hear another strong vocal performance from Ray Alder since the new Fates Warning album has taken a back seat once again, this time to the new Arch/Matheos project. Of particular enjoying are his more soaring vocals on “Perfect”.
This Mortal Coil features a good group of musicians led by a masterful songwriter, but it just seems to lack some of the pop of earlier Redemption. Songs on the album don’t pop out against one another, and as a whole they don’t stick with you as well as songs from previous albums have. However if I was let down by this album it’s only because of Redemption’s record of excellence. The only time anyone is going to complain about getting a silver medal is if they’ve gotten used to a regular string of gold medals. There is a ton of good material on this record, but you might just have a little harder time accessing it.
Nick’s Rating 8.5/10