Multi-instrumentalist Nick van Dyk's Redemption proved to be a great project with their 2003 debut featuring an impressive list of guest musicians, including members from Fates Warning and Symphony X. Nick van Dyk played pretty much every instrument on the album except the drums and the album was a huge success. Unfortunately, due to the weak production in spots, the album didn't reach its ultimate perfection, mainly because of Rick Mythiasin's poorly mixed vocals.
Now, almost three years later, Redemption is back. Things have changed quite a bit since then. While still primarily Nick van Dyk's band as he wrote all the music and lyrics himself, he has enlisted the services of Prymary bassist James Sherwood and drummer Chris Quirarte, retaining the amazing Bernie Versailles on second guitar and handling the keyboard stuff himself. Enter new singer - none other than the amazing Ray Alder from Fates Warning. Ray Alder's contribution to the album is immense. His singing actually sounds quite different from his work with Fates Warning or Engine. I assume that's because Nick van Dyk wrote all the music including the vocal melodies. Alder sure has added his quality to them though. His voice is warm and utterly emotive. He sings the lyrics with utmost conviction and tremendous clarity. He is simply like no other singer out there.
The album is comprised of two parts. The first four songs are the independent songs, starting with the highly energetic "Threads" where Chris Quirarte is at his drumming best laying down speedy, concise beats over a vague keyboard line and matching up Nick and Bernie Versailles' dense rhythm work. "Parker's Eyes" is a cerebral track whose lyrical content revolves around feelings of anger, despair and rage. The song touches on various themes including the 9/11 event and corrupt politics. "Scarred" is easily the heaviest track on the album - the main riff right at the beginning unleashes a wave of dense rhythm and it has an impossibly beautiful chorus. The song is dark, complex and heavy. I love the unison solo going on in the middle where Nick and Bernie Versailles really cut it loose. This track would fit seamlessly with any of the songs on Dream Theater's Awake. The epic tune, "Sapphire", starts out with plucked acoustic guitars and builds on and on until the breaking point at around 2:15. Ray Alder's rendition of the chorus during the "Treasures can slip through your fingertips" line is heart-stopping as is the subtle piano melody mixing up with awesome guitar cadences. The whole song, although 16 minutes long, never becomes repetitive, neither with its lyrics nor the music. I'm at loss for words. Simply incredible.
The title track is made up of four subtracks: "i. Rage", "ii. Despair", "iii. Release" and "iv. Transcendence". Put together, they take up more than 20 minutes of the album. All four cuts exemplify dark progressive metal with ethereal keys and pianos merging with raging guitars and an emotionally exhausting vocal performance. Each piece is quite varied in itself, as "Despair" contains a mildly exotic section rendered by amazing guitar melodies while Alder's vocals on "Release" intensify the already dark piano piece reminding me a little of Evergrey. "Transcendence" not only closes the album as a fitting piece alternating between heavy riffs and passionate keyboards, but it also leads to a theme of renewal. Nick van Dyk's lyrics show great improvement over his debut album. They are easy to relate to, thought-provoking and not even the least bit preachy.
Finally Tommy Newton, the producer known for his work with Conception and Ark, gives the album its warm and huge sound. I always thought Nick should work with someone like Neil Kernon whose impeccable production would add a lot to his music, but Newton is also an excellent choice. He gives so much clarity and power to the band's songcraft allowing everything to shine through without taking away from the surreally organic compositions. Travis Smith once again provides the dark artwork for the album. Mind you his work on the debut disc was also great, but I much prefer this one. The Fullness of Time sees Redemption taking a big leap and proving themselves as one of the best American prog metal bands.
1. Threads (5:43)
2. Parker's Eyes (6:15)
3. Scarred (7:56)
4. Sapphire (15:55)
- The Fullness of Time -
5. i. Rage (5:06)
6. ii. Despair (3:20)
7. iii. Release (5:16)
8. iv. Transcendence (7:59)