I think I never had to write an album review with more pain in my heart than the review of Redemption's live recording called Live From The Pit. The reason should be obvious, but for those who were not aware, here's an update. Lead guitarist for Redemption and also for Agent Steel, Bernie Versailles has suffered an aneurysm and is currently in a coma. I only can hope for the best possible recovery and I wish him, his friends and family the strength to pull through. Nevertheless a review needs to be written, so let's start with telling this album was recorded live at ProgPower USA in 2012 and captured on CD as well on DVD. Besides the unfortunate Bernie Versailles, Redemption consists of founder Nick van Dyk on guitar, vocalist Ray Alder (also pretty well known from Fates Warning), bass player Sean Andrews and drummer Chris Quirarte. The live keyboards were played by the hired gun; Andy Paredes. For the record I have to mention, the CD as well as the DVD holds the complete concert of the evening, so musically both discs are the same.
Live From The Pit shows a band that absolutely peaks. This is progressive metal played like it should, especially the instrumentalists who are marvellous and sometimes the instrumental breaks have a sort of Dream Theater feel, due to the technical aspects of Redemptions music. Listen to, or better yet, watch the outstanding passage in The Suffocating Silence or the synchronized guitar parts during most of the compositions. Those so-called twin guitars are as tight as can be and at points bass player Sean joins them in complete harmony. A bit creepy is the song Stronger Than Death, where the backdrop shows musicians who have fought death and are still among us. Including their own guitar player Nick van Dyke, who suffered blood cancer and was told he'd only have a few years to live. In the same song the backdrop also honors the ones we lost, like Dio. This composition is followed by The Origins Of Ruin, where the aforementioned van Dyke plays the electric piano live. During this composition Ray Alder shows he is still a great vocalist. During these lower positioned parts he still impresses. There is no doubt, Ray Alder's voice is not the same as it was during the outstanding Fates Warning albums Parallels (1991) or Inside Out (1994). Time absolutely has taken its toll, but nevertheless the whole experience of this live recording gives you a fair picture of the status of a brilliant band on a high.
With the uncertain situation that guitarist Bernie Versailles is in, this recording absolutely is obligated for the ones who are a fan of his marvellous guitar playing. Together with Nick van Dyk, they are a more than amazing duo, who complete each other when playing live. On the other hand, if you just want to see a great performance, with perfect sound and filmed well, just watch Live From The Pit.
**** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Robert James Pashman)
Where to buy?