March 30, 2023

I would imagine that there are very few hard rock fans out there who do not have anything by Redemption in their collection and even fewer who have not even heard of this phenomenal American progressive metal band; if you fall into either of these categories then an examination of this musical force is very much in order.

The band was formed in 2001 and has released seven quite exceptional albums over the years with a sound and delivery very much in keeping with bands like Symphony X, Fates Warning, Dream Theater and our very own Threshold. As with so many bands these days there have been numerous changes in personnel with the band now comprising sole remaining original member Nick van Dyk on guitar alongside the sublime vocals of Tom S. Englund with Chris Quirarte on drums, Sean Andrews on bass, Vikram Shankar on Keyboards and Simone Mularoni guesting on guitars on this new album. A talented team indeed and very probably worthy of the title of supergroup as Englund, as we all know, is the voice of the powerfully dark progressive metal band Evergrey, Mularoni is the guitarist with DGM and Quirarte is with Pyramid and the others all being very respected musicians too. To add to this already very heady mix we also see guest appearances from Chris Poland (ex-Megadeth) and Henrik Danhage (Evergrey) and all help to make I Am The Storm a real tour de force. Of the talented musicians who have passed through the ranks is the singer Ray Adler of Fates Warning fame and it was a shock when he left but this opened the door for Englund and he was the ideal replacement and pivotal in giving the band a much heavier profile as well as introducing elements of Evergrey into the band’s armoury.

I Am The Storm which is album number eight and comes a full five years since the last record which was the impressive and storming Long Night’s Journey Into Day so it is long overdue although we did have the pleasure of the CD/DVD set Alive In Color in 2020. What immediately hits with the new album is the sheer power and intensity of the material as the band calls upon all of its influences to serve up a storming progressive metal set with all of the fire and punch of thrash and the glorious excesses of power metal but all neatly contained in a dramatic yet melodic framework with every note in the right place and yes there is plenty of excess throughout but this is what we want to hear from such an elemental metal band. Dyk and Mularoni combine perfectly with plenty of intense riffing and stunning guitar breaks as well as plenty of complex time changes and outstanding keyboards from Shankar and all set against a rhythm section that is bombastic and loud whilst, paradoxically, being cool, calm and collected. Over this, Englund gives his usual commanding performance and he gives a real presence to every band he performs with and has rarely sounded better and that includes his impeccable performances with Evergrey.

The album features a couple of extended tracks over the 10-minute mark which allows the band to show just how skilful they are as they push the boundaries with a level of musicianship that is simply staggering with every track having that fully developed and epic sound that we have come to expect from this band at the height of its glory. The record clocks in at an admirable 72-minutes although there are a couple of bonus tracks with a remixed version of The Emotional Depiction Of Light as well as a great version of Peter Gabriel’s Red Rain. This is not the only cover though as the band also have some fun with the Genesis track Turn It On Again as we see a new side of the song as the team gives it a real prog metal make over. Vinyl sales are very much on the up these days and the actual record version of the album sees a further two bonus songs not available on the CD with The Pearl Clutchers and The Far Side Of The Clouds but these were not available for review so no comment can be made.

Redemption fans will already have their orders in but if you are looking for a new dark and complex progressive metal delight then look no further than this quite stunning hard rock delight that satisfies on every level and is a future classic, guaranteed.

I Am The Storm

  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 (4:20)
  8. All This Time (And Not Enough) (12:36)
  9. The Emotional Depiction Of Light (Remix) (6:12)
  10. Red Rain (5:38)