On July 27, 2018, Redemption released their seventh full-length album, Long Night’s Journey Into Day. The release was mastered by Jacob Hansen, who has also worked with Amaranthe, Doro, Primal Fear and Volbeat. It is the first album to feature Evergrey vocalist Tom Englund on vocals, replacing longtime frontman Ray Alder, also of progressive metal institution Fates Warning. Englund’s highly emotional, husky vocal style could lend a rougher edge to Redemption’s simultaneously melodramatic and contemplative approach. It is also worth pointing out that in the band’s new promo shoot (https://www.redemptionweb.com/) he looks quite a lot like the 30-year-old Boomer (https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/30-year-old-boomer).
It’s a good choice, however, considering that Evergrey and Redemption are strongly reliant on their vocalists to define their sound. The Art of Loss was the band’s most eclectic effort, but Alder’s singing provided the basic foundation that defined it as a Redemption album. Englund could be better off in Redemption, given that Evergrey have been meandering for the last couple releases while the former band have been musically top-notch for most of their oeuvre. Chris Poland, formerly of Megadeth, returns for this album, having appeared on The Art of Loss for a very noticeable shred outing on the title track. He will be joined by Italian guitar veteran Simone Mularoni, of Empyrios and the estimable prog-power heavyweights DGM. Also, after an extensive coma after a 2014 aneurysm (https://www.facebook.com/Bernie-Versailles-379611832240834/), the band’s longtime lead guitarist Bernie Versailles returns to the lineup.
The title Long Night’s Journey Into Day is (according to the label, Metal Blade: https://www.metalblade.com/redemption/) an inversion of Long Day’s Journey Into Night, the title of a play by Eugene O’Neill concerning a dysfunctional family being destroyed by addiction. (Interestingly, the album title itself is also the title of a movie about life under apartheid, as revealed during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In other words, the most South African documentary imaginable.) The album itself sees more varied lyrical content.
The video for “Someone Else’s Problem” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQKHm_l-vcc) sees alternating shots of the band playing out in a very Bonneville Salt Flats-looking area, and of a woman luxuriating amongst various high-end items seething with unsubstantiated ennui and vindictiveness. Hilariously, like the divergent plot points in an episode of The Good Guys, the woman drives up to where the band are playing and contemptuously chucks a presumably very pricy set of pumps out the window at their feet. The band, consummate prog heads as they are, ignore this amusing display of human behavior completely and keep playing. It’s hard to tell exactly who is going to be someone else’s problem. It seems like it’s the woman, as the guy in this interaction is totally absent and the band seem to be slightly on the receiving end of this annoyance.
Englund was added in the hope of finding a replacement for Alder who could address the same themes with the right tone. The press release notes both bands cover the human condition – though it should be said that Evergrey often takes on a pessimistic approach. Nonetheless, Englund is best when he can exercise the full range of his voice, which a Redemption album certainly would permit.
Long Night’s Journey into Day tracklist
1. Eyes You Dare Not Meet in Dreams
2. Someone Else’s Problem
3. The Echo Chamber
5. Indulge in Color
6. Little Men
7. And Yet
8. The Last of Me
9. New Year’s Day
10. Long Night’s Journey into Day
Tom Englund – vocals
Nick van Dyk – guitars
Sean Andrews – bass
Chris Quirarte – drums
Vikram Shankar – keyboards
After two singles – 2014’s poppy “inner Enemy” and the somewhat more straight-laced “The Promise” in 2016 – Swedish progressive metal maestros Seventh Wonder have recently announced their new album “Tiara”. The release is being mixed by Oyvind Larsen, the man responsible for mixing on the already-mentioned singles. The album has undergone mastering by Jens Bogren at Fascination Studios. Bogren has previously worked with other progressive metal stalwarts such as James Labrie, Katatonia, Opeth and Symphony X. ( Frontiers Records will oversee the worldwide release of the 13-track concept album, including as a double LP.
The band used the following lyrics in their promotion:
“’We've watched you since the dawn of time,
with every moment gone by.
A million suns fade and die,
this is the end?’
Beware, for they're coming..!”
These are presumably an allusion to alien forces, given the cosmic imagery. The precedent for a concept album about exists in the band’s widely-lauded “Mercy Falls”, and more within melodic progressive metal more generally, perhaps most notably in Evergrey’s “In Search of Truth”, which also concerned aliens and isolation. Musically it’s very much in keeping with the band’s tradition. From the promo, the work sounds rather more like “Mercy Falls” than the preceding “The Great Escape”. It’s less melodic (of course this should be taken with a grain of salt given the general character of their oeuvre) but slightly darker than their previous work.
From the musicianship I trust this will work; Anubis Gate attempted this in 2017 and failed, as did Adagio who despite employing the preeminent “dark prog” master Kelly Carpenter (Beyond Twilight, Darkology, Epysode, Outworld, Zierler) dropped their neoclassical edge and therefore their unique appeal. If anything it sounds like SW might be making the opposite ‘mistake’, but their style is developed enough that for them churning out the same stuff would be at least to my ears an entirely acceptable route.
The tracklist is unknown, but Seventh Wonder’s promo video can be found here:
There’s not enough circus metal. It is fundamentally a bit goofy, but performed correctly it’s one of the most irresistible concoctions the metal world produces, perfectly mating the technical with the catchy. Genre junkies like me rely on a clutch of specialized bands for consistent output, and with the 2015 demise of Unexpect, arguably the field’s greatest artist, we were left with one fewer reliable supplier.
Mercifully, this relative drought will be alleviated on December 8, 2017 by none other than the genre’s foremost representative. Sweden’s swing metal maestros Diablo Swing Orchestra or DSO, will release their new album “Pacifisticuffs” on that date, under Candlelight and Spinefarm Records.
Originally, DSO had sustained fans with the tantalizing “Jigsaw hustle”, which they described as “ABBA-klezmer-funk with a twist of lemon” in a surprisingly accurate bit of copy. The integration of disco with metal is an amusing juxtaposition given the extraordinary public hatred evinced toward disco in the late 70’s, particularly by rock fans. As usual, metal works well in genre fusion owing to its flexibility, and this track was no exception. Snappy production posed no hindrance for a band imitating a genre inherently associated with panache.
Furthermore, it helped differentiate DSO’s upcoming work from the previous material. The first two albums, “The Butcher’s Ballroom” and “Sing-Along Songs For the Damned and Delirious”, largely took from a swing and opera canon with violin flourishes. The following “Pandora’s Pinata” broadened this focus while keeping its basic foundations – giving their swing a cabaret focus while moving more into funk and groove.
One visual theme of the album, evident both in the cover art and the band’s Facebook post, on Dec. 12, 2016, is “gnarly geometry”. Both the shirt and album cover feature figures deriving from an angular and three-sided basis.
This, in combination with the color palette – bloom-heavy shades of purple and magenta – may suggest slicker production. It could also feasibly suggest djent influences. The recording process has seen the use of brass, strings, choir and piano. The band have also abandoned their flamboyant opera-styled female vocalist Annlouice Lögdlund with Kristin Evegård, who employs a looser style more in keeping with the swoopy vernacular of cabaret rather than opera’s arch soprano.
The band will issue two singles, before the album release: “Knucklehugs” on November 3 and “The Age of Vulture Culture” on December 1.
"Pacifisticuffs" track listing:
01. Knucklehugs (Arm Yourself With Love)
02. The Age Of Vulture Culture
03. Superhero Jagganath
04. Vision Of The Purblind
05. Lady Clandestine Chainbreaker
06. Jigsaw Hustle
07. Pulse Of The Incipient
08. Ode To The Innocent
10. Cul-De-Sac Semantics
11. Karma Bonfire
12. Climbing The Eyeball
13. Porch Of Perception