“There won’t be a happy ending.” That’s part of the chorus for the title track from Redemption’s new album “The Art of Loss.” There is a happy ending to this album, it just gets off to a rocky start. The problem that I had with the bulk of the last Redemption album,”This Mortal Coil,” was a lack of passion. For a band that has very emotional lyrical content and music that is technical, passion is a key.
Unfortunately, the band sound almost tired to me on the title track. Ray Alder is one of the greatest singers in prog metal and on this track, he doesn’t really have any emotion in his singing. Of course his voice is great but it sounds like he is just singing what’s in front of him. On this song, the band sounds the same. Yet other times, like on the instrumental break within the second track “Slouching Towards Bethlehem,” they show some life, before resuming their own slouching.
Things start to improve however. The first single “Damaged” has more life to it than the first two tracks put together. A great riff certainly helps. Ray sounds more interested on this song as well. Once again, it seems like the band turn up the fire power during the solos. Marty Friedman adds a guest solo to this one and it works fine.
“Hope Dies Last” has a very nice piano introduction before turning up the heat. It definitely is one of the better tracks on the album. A good driving beat with plenty of good solos. I think this would have made a good first single. “That Golden Light” has a very blatant poppy chorus which isn’t bad but I like the verses better. Plus they don’t quite fit each other.
Covering a classic song like “Love Reign O’er Me” seems unnecessary. It sounds very much like the original. The guest vocal by John Bush is awesome because this is definitely more in his wheelhouse than Ray’s. Still, it doesn’t really add anything to the album and seems more like a bonus track. Having said that, it’s light years better than ALL of the covers they did for the bonus disc for “This Mortal Coil.”
The best track on the album is easily the closing colossus “At Day’s End.” At over 22 minutes, to say that this track has everything is probably the easiest way to describe it. Acoustic guitar intro, majestic symphonic metal power, killer drumming, great atmosphere, solos galore, powerhouse riffs and Ray’s best vocal on the album. This track alone makes “The Art of Loss” more than worth it’s purchase price.
The potential for a great album was here but it just falls short with a few less than perfect tracks. Still, “The Art of Loss” is my favorite Redemption album overall. Redemption have definitely redeemed themselves from the downturn of “This Mortal Coil.”
1. The Art of Loss
2. Slouching Towards Bethlehem
4. Hope Dies Last
5. That Golden Light
6. Thirty Silver
7. The Center of the Fire
8. Love Reign O’er Me
9. At Day’s End