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Redemption: I Am the Storm

Longtime US progressive metal act said goodbye to vocalist Ray Alder and hello to Evergrey founder Tom Englund for their 2018 album Long Night's Journey Into Day, and they are back five years later with their follow-up I Am the Storm for AFM Records. While Long Night's Journey Into Day was a fine enough album, most loyal Redemption fans noted the addition of Englund gave the band perhaps more 'Evergrey' and not enough Redemption, something that continues here on this latest album. With that being said, there's really nothing to complain about here on I Am the Storm, as it's another strong collection of melodic progressive metal with some slight gothic and symphonic touches in spots across songs such as "Seven Minutes From Sunset", "Remember the Dawn", the epic "Action at a Distance", the snarling "Resilience", and the engaging title track. Another good one is the second epic "All This Time (And Not Enough)", which allows for plenty of solo spots and extended breakouts, something that was missing from the last album. While it remains odd yet again to not have Englund contribute any guitar work here alongside founder Nick Van Dyk, there is no shortage of guitar firepower to be found. The complete line-up for the album is:

Tom Englund / vocals
Nick Van Dyk / guitar, keyboards
Sean Andrews / bass
Chris Quirarte / drums
Vikram Shankar / keyboards

Chris Poland / guitar
Simone Mularoni / guitar
Henrik Danhage / guitar

Truth be told, I Am the Storm is a pretty good album, and though Englund continues to be a commanding presence behind the microphone, giving anything he touches a decidedly 'Evergrey' feel, this one feels closer to a Redemption album than the previous one. Or, perhaps my ears are finally getting used to the change? They say change is harder the older you get, so that could be it. However, I'm not liking the fact that out of ten tracks, two are covers and one is a remix of another song. Neither the Genesis or the Peter Gabriel cover is much of a revelation, though Tom does a fine Peter Gabriel and that's the more successful of the two, I'd have rather had two more original tracks, or just leave the album as is without them, seeing as the rest of the album is nearly an hour anyway. Either way, the seven main songs are quite good, and make this an easy recommendation.

Track Listing
1 I Am The Storm 4:28
2 Seven Minutes From Sunset 4:28
3 Remember The Dawn 8:26
4 The Emotional Depiction Of Light 6:11
5 Resilience 4:36
6 Action At A Distance 14:19
7 Turn It On Again (Genesis cover) 4:20
8 All This Time (And Not Enough) 12:36
9 The Emotional Depiction Of Light (Vikram Shankar Mix) 6:12
10 Red Rain (Peter Gabriel cover) 5:38

Added: July 23rd 2023
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 948
Language: english

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Redemption: I Am the Storm
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2023-07-23 11:13:09
My Score:

The introduction of Evergrey’s Tom Englund into the Redemption ranks for Long Night’s Journey Into Day in 2018 seemed to polarise opinions - many people viewing his influence as so strong on an already long established band to veer Redemption way too close to the Evergrey sound. Others simply accepted a quality, interesting album from the band for what it was, a keenly crafted collection that still held the Redemption sound at its heart while undoubtedly giving its new singer a level of freedom that maybe hadn’t been expected.

I Am The Storm doesn’t veer too far from that same path and while immediate impressions (at least for this reviewer) were a little underwhelming, this album has benefited hugely from being filed away for a week or two and then being heard again as a new, but familiar friend. As you’d expect, the band are pretty much beyond reproach, Nick Van Dyk still a riff monster whose dextrous solos possess enough pizzazz to stop you in your tracks, but enough soul to never dazzle at the expense of their surrounds, while keyboard player Vikram Shankar aids and abets with layers of atmosphere and darting yet melodic excursions. Add in a bulging and forceful rhythm section in the shape of Sean Andrews (bass) and Chris Quirarte (drums) and if you’re looking to pick holes, not one will you find - at least not in this direction.

The arrangements are exquisite in places, “Action At A Distance” a sprawling piece with neo-classical elements and a powerful enough core to hit with a lasting explosion. Brooding in moments, light and airy in others, it’s an album highlight, and yet the opening title track and slow, heartfelt “The Emotional Depiction Of Light” are also impressive and engaging… so what’s the problem?

Well, for me it’s the strange way in which much of this good work is undone by what can only be seen as some strange sequencing and track inclusion choices. Now, I know that I am often heard to be found moaning that how can a song be a bonus track if it’s just tacked on the end of every format of an album? However, after six good to pretty near excellent tracks, the choice to lob in a throwaway, but admittedly hugely fun cover of the Genesis pop-classic “Turn It On Again” is hugely distraction, even if this practice has become a calling card of this outfit. Yes, it’s been Redemptioned, but it’s still a metalled up novelty pop song and if the album ended there, fair enough. Instead the new track “All This Time (And Not Enough)” follows, heading in completely the opposite direction - long, brooding, heavy, intense, technical and another jarring moment to the senses considering what it follows. If that wasn’t confusing enough, a Vikram Shankar Mix of the already featured “The Emotional Depiction Of Light” is up next, making you wonder if they shouldn’t maybe have waited a month or two and released a separate EP with what feels like some album leftovers on it. A notion compounded when I Am The Storm blows itself out with another well constructed, if faithful cover, this time “Red Rain” originally by Peter Gabriel.

Don’t get me wrong, I like both the covers, and for that matter the remixed original track that appears twice, but those facts don’t alter the feeling that this lengthy album (71 minutes) hasn’t really come to end nearly 30 minutes before it does, and that the band aren’t just kind of diddling around for most of that extra duration, with the excellent new track “All Of This (And Not Enough)” feeling like it’s been stuck in the middle of that section purely to prove otherwise.

Make this a 40-55 minute outing and I’d be scoring it at a strong 4/5. As it is, any album that inclines me to press stop at just over the half way point has surely failed in its major mission. Or maybe I’m just a killjoy?

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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