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Redemption

To me, this kind of metal started with Iron Maiden. Then the shredders like Yngwie Malmsteen, Vinnie Moore, Tony MacAlpine and Joe Satriani evolved it a litle bit more.

The “..And Justice For All” album from Metallica pushed the boundaries of metal even more with its time changes in the composition while Savatage was also pushing these metal boundaries, with “Gutter Ballet” and “Streets A Rock Opera”, metal masterpieces rooted in story-telling. In between here, you had Queensryche, who with each album kept pushing the progressive metal bar into further directions.

By the start of the 90’s, Fates Warning had morphed from a power metal act into a progressive rock one and Dream Theater changed the game even more with “Images and Words”.

And since then, progressive metal has kept on evolving. One of the most important acts in this scene is Evergrey, so it’s no surprise that Evergrey founder, singer and main songwriter Tom Englund is doing vocals here.

Some artists have a huge impact/influence on you.

For me Tom Englund is one such artist. He’s been pushing his main band “Evergrey” since they formed in Sweden in the mid 90’s and with each album they get stronger and more diverse. The last two albums, “Hymns For The Broken” and “The Storm” are excellent releases, incorporation atmospherics into their music. They are one of those bands with a cult following, and these fans have supported them into a ten album career over 20 years. And the thing with Evergrey is, they keep growing a little bit more with each release.

So I was surprised to read that Tom is doing vocals for Redemption.

I remember really digging their “The Fullness Of Time”, “The Origins Of Ruin” and “Snowfall On Judgement Day” albums, all released between 2005, 2007 and 2009 respectively. After that, they sort of dropped of my radar. I remember seeing new albums advertised, but I never got around to checking em out.

Now for people who don’t know who Redemption are, here is a quick summary.

They are a progressive metal/rock band from the US, who had vocalist Ray Adler from Fates Warning fronting them from “The Fullness Of Time” album. They’ve also had their fair share of tragedy/bad news, with founding guitarist Nick Van Dyk being diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in 2008 a form of blood cancer considered incurable. But the metal gods are shining and he’s still rocking to this day. In 2014, co- guitarist Bernie Versailles suffered an aneurysm and he’s currently on indefinite hiatus while he continues to recover.

And here we are in 2018, with “Long Night’s Journey Into Day”. Without any disrespect to the guys in Redemption, because they had Ray Adler fronting them previously, I always said they sounded like Fates Warning on the previous album and now with Tom Englund fronting them, they sound like Evergrey. These two vocalists have a unique tone and style which will always tie them back to their main bands.

In saying all that, this is a cracking album. If it sounds like Evergrey, it’s purely coincidental due to Englund’s vocals. And I like how Englund is trying new things, outside of the Evergrey domain. It looks like he finally understands the game. Those who are not creating and releasing constantly are either calling for the old days to come back or are waiting for the telegram to arrive. Things change and that also means the record business.

Eyes You Dare Not Meet In Dreams

If you like Megadeth, (hell, Megadeth musicians always seem to make an appearance on Redemption albums) then you will like the intro riffage.

There’s a storm on the horizon
There’s a shadow on your door
There’s a sense of dread that’s rising
And it’s coming back for more

It’s ominous and of our world and of our times.

Capitalism has overthrown democracy and it’s more dangerous than communism and dictatorships. If there is a threat to a company’s profits, they will sue a sovereign state to get their way or they will scheme and pay for laws to be passed, to get there way. And politicians are all too eager to accept the lobby dollars.

The GFC happened and trillions of dollars in taxpayer bailout funds went into the economy from the Government. The people responsible for the GFC, lost nothing. They went into nice jobs with the firms that benefited from the bailouts and they went on college speaking tours. However, the middle class and the poor suffered and lost a lot. Some still haven’t recovered.

And people still haven’t moved on from then. There is a fear, an anger and a dread which is all floating in the undertow. And the politicians who are meant to represent the people have more or less disappeared. All they represent are the companies who pay the most.

The instrumental/solo section is a medley of Yngwie Malmsteen and Dream Theater and it’s a great combination in my mind.

Someone Else’s Problem

The intro riff hooks me and “The Ytse Jam” nod before the verses is a perfect tribute to their influences.

So now I’m standing in the ashes
Remembering your face
If I’m honest and don’t think too much about it
There are things that seem a challenge to replace
I know I let myself be played
Trying to fix a broken toy

Lyrically, it deals with removing yourself from a relationship which is leaching you.

I tried
But I won’t bleed for you no more
Because your someone else’s problem

And then there is another wicked instrumental/solo section.

The Echo Chamber

It has a very similar riff to “Someone Else’s Problem” which has a similar riff to “The Ytse Jam” which is very similar to.. I guess you know how it goes.

But from the minute mark, this could have come from the “Scenes From A Memory” album by Dream Theater.

You surround yourself with thinkers of your kind
Never challenging your view or opening your mind

Lyrically it deals with social media, it’s impact in our lives and how people seek out views and ideas which they agree with, even if they are crap or wrong, and shutting out any other viewpoints, even if those opposing viewpoints are true.

Impermanent

Still a part of us will fight it
Til our dying breath
Nothing can be permanent
The machines in this place will fail
The illusion of stability

Change will come. Change is inevitable. And as the chorus lyrics state, accept the tide of change or it will drag you under.

Indulge In Color

The intro is brilliant with influences ranging from Joe Satriani to Dream Theater to Fates Warning to Rush.

They must have changed the way the game is played
Or I never knew the rules
I could see the prize within my grasp
And watched it slip away from view

Yes, the rules of life change based on the companies which stand to lose the most. You see, every law and every decision made by government is based on legislation that companies lobbied hard to make happen. And by having these laws passed, the rules of the game change.

Little Men

It’s a song Metallica wishes they wrote.

The world must be so frightening to make them feel so small

You know, those little politician men who want to feel important.

Face of an arrogant man
Striving in the shadows
Cursed by his success
He tries to reinvent himself
But isn’t sure he can
So he tries to stand so tall
Because he knows he’s small

The world is full of insane people holding positions of power. Now it’s unstable, insecure rich people holding positions of power.

And Yet

I know that you were using me
I know I should have won
You consumed the very best of me

Englund delivers vocally on this ballad.

I curse myself for caring and I hate because I’m weak

It’s human nature to care. The majority of us have a heart. And then you have the others who don’t care. Like a locust swarm they come in and strip away all the essence of the crop/person before they move on. Machine Head covered this topic with their song, “Unto The Locust”.

The Last Of Me

We have reached a point in life
Where it takes more than it gives

It’s a shame that for the majority of people, life has become about taking more than they give. There is no balance. We might see on the news, people rallying to give help to others in a time of need or a disaster, but what happens in between these events.

How are they helping each other?

People used to have veggie patch gardens and they would share what they grew with others in the street. Why let it go to waste? But people had to know each other in the street to share. These days, I am pretty sure if I ask people to name the people who live in their street, they wouldn’t be able to.

New Year’s Day

This is a cool U2 cover and hearing Englund do his take on Bono’s melodies is totally worth it.

Under a blood red sky
A crowd has gathered in black and white
Arms entwined, the chosen few
The newspapers say it’s true
It’s true
And we can break through
Though torn in two
We can be one.

Eastern Europe was under communism. The governments controlled the media. So they showed what they wanted to show and they printed what they wanted to print. As the lyrics state, if the newspapers say it’s true, it must be true.

I read somewhere about how the song’s lyrics deal with the 1980 demonstrations in Poland against oppressive and how the people demonstrating got arrested and put in jail.

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Music, Treating Fans Like Shit

Queensryche is nothing without Chris DeGarmo.

I really, really, really liked this band.  Note the emphasis on the three really’s.  They started off as a normal metal band, with a singer in Geoff Tate that had a unique voice for the metal genre.  The musical style of the band evolved much the same way my musical tastes evolved during the Eighties, so it was perfect.

I have been forming an opinion on Queensryche, since Chris DeGarmo left in January 1998, after the 1997 Hear In The Now Frontier album.

After listening to what Geoff Tate has released recently with his Kings and Queens solo album and his F.U Queensryche offering, and also listening to the new song Redemption that the Queensryche/Todd LaTorre fronted version released, I can say without a doubt, that the star in Queensryche was Chris DeGarmo.

To be honest, I purchased all the Queensryche releases up to American Soldier.  That is what fans did once upon a time, and none of the new stuff stacks up.  The songs are forgettable and the music even more so.  I thought that Operation Mindcrime II would be a savior, however that failed to get my attention as well.  Who knew at the time that it came out, that session musicians played on it.

For those that don’t know the story so far, Geoff Tate was fired from Queensryche.  He countered that firing by saying that he is Queensryche, so how can they fire him from the band that he lived and breathed.

Stories continued to come out, about violent punch ups before a South American show, involving Geoff Tate vs the rest of the band members, about how the band members haven’t even played on any of the newer Queensryche releases even though they are credited and so on.  Just go to Loudwire, search for Queensryche and you will be filled in.

They have filed injunctions against each other and I am pretty sure if they could throw each other under a bus, they would.  This is one of those bad blood split ups, more controversial than Vince Neil’s ousting from Motley Crue or David Lee Roth’s ousting from Van Halen.

I saw Queensryche at the Metro Theater in Sydney back in 2009, August 31.  The band at the time was the original four, with Tate’s son in law Parker Lundgren on guitars.  What can I say, they killed it.  The Metro is a small venue, it was sold out.  1,200 people paid $90 to watch them.

They did songs from Rage For Order, Empire and American Soldier.  That was cool, because they promoted the shows that way as well, so people knew what they were paying for.   The American Soldier songs became toilet breaks.

Keeping bands together is a tough gig in itself.  Don Henley said that it was a horrible relief when the Eagles broke up.  That more or less sums it up.  On one hand, the break up feels like shit, you are sad and you are on the angry, but on the other hand, you are relieved its over, you are free, you can start over again.

What is pathetic in all of this, is that the fans are being treated like shit.  Both bands do not deserve the name of Queensryche.  They should have taken a new name, however both versions know, that they need the Queensryche name to sell themselves.

One thing is clear in my mind, Queensryche will always be Chris DeGarmo for me.

It looks even that is not working.   F.U debuted at #74, with 5,500 units sold, last week.  Week 2 saw it at #173 with 2,275 sold.  By week 3 it will be gone.  So expect Tate to start spitting out some controversial comments, so that he can get free press come his way.

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