When word first starting making the rounds that longtime Redemption vocalist Ray Alder was going to leave the band to re-commit his time fully back to Fates Warning and Evergrey singer/guitarist Tom Englund was going to be filling his spot, I have to admit feeling a bit of trepidation. After all, Englund is a major talent, and with one of the more unique voices in metal, my first instinct was that he would overpower Redemption and make the band sound too much like Evergrey. Well, after the first listen of Long Night's Journey Into Day, the first union of this new version of Redemption, my fears were relaxed. Still squarely a Redemption album through and through, chock full of guitarist/keyboardist/writer Nick van Dyk's brand of sizzling & melodic progressive metal, this release has enough Englund emotion to make a statement, but he fits into the band perfectly, blending in to make them even better. Stepping into Alder's shoes is no easy feat, as the opinion of this writer is that he's done his best work in Redemption over the years, but Englund is up to the task and he's in great form here, contributing not only vocals but lyrics as well.
Produced by none other than Jacob Hansen, Long Night's Journey Into Day is a great sounding record, the guitars & keys potent throughout, van Dyk enlisting the help of Simone Mularoni(DGM/Empyrios) and Chris Poland for lead guitars, and additional keyboards from Vikram Shankar to help flesh out the sound, resulting in a real powerhouse presentation that is further enriched by the always constant presence of the rhythm team of bassist Sean Andrews and drummer Chris Quirarte. Englund's soaring pipes are in command on the killer opener "Eyes You Dare Not Meet in Dreams", surrounded by a cavalcade of frantic prog-metal arrangements, while tunes such as "Someone Else's Problem" and "The Echo Chamber" contain extended passages of blazing guitar & keyboard solos...this is virtuoso stuff folks. Manic rhythms permeate the frenzied "Impermanent", complete with crushing riffs and dazzling guitar & synth solos, while the more atmospheric & melodic "Indulge in Color" allows Englund to really let loose with a poignant vocal. "Little Me" rocks quite hard, and the sorrowful "And Yet" is trademark Englund, offering a frailty in the vocals that this band has never quite had before. After a surprising yet enjoyable take on the U2 classic "New Years Day", the band close out the album with the near 11-minute title track, an epic tune that takes the listener on a powerful ride through bruising riffs, complex unison trade-offs, and plenty of blistering solos, all participants getting to shine brightly and Englund cementing his arrival in Redemption in a big way.
As for what the future holds for Redemption, that remains to be seen. Is Tom Englund set to be a fixture in the band for years to come alongside his commitments to his main band Evergrey, or will we see another Alder/Fates Warning traffic jam? According to van Dyke, Redemption have an appearance at ProgPower coming up, with hopes to get back into the studio for a follow-up album in the not too distant future. Let's keep our fingers crossed for all that, but in the meantime, this is a fantastic album that we can all enjoy over and over again in the months to come.
See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!
1) Eyes You Dare Not Meet in Dreams 5:23
2) Someone Else's Problem 7:02
3) The Echo Chamber 8:15
4) Impermanent 5:11
5) Indulge in Color 7:52
6) Little Men 6:33
7) And Yet 3:47
8) The Last of Me 5:06
9) New Year's Day 5:57
10) Long Night's Journey into Day 10:30