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The Origins Of Ruin

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(23 Reviews)

Metal Album Reviews[RSS]

  • I was very disappointed with the first two (overrated) Redemption releases, but this is stellar. Far more inspired and interesting than the relatively mundane earlier efforts. The songwriting has matured, while Alder’s melodic vocals float atop intense, addictive riffs and intricate polyrhythms. The newfound complexity and polish has this in the running for a top 3 prog album of the year.

    Far better than anything Redemption has done to date and superior to anything Fates Warning has released since the incomparable aPSoG.

    Posted on January 22, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • “The Origins of Ruin”, Redemption’s third release, is the first I’ve ever heard of them. The lineup on this disc is: Nicolas van Dyk (guitar, keys), Bernie Versailles (guitar), Sean Andrews (bass), Chris Quirarte (drums), and Ray Alder (vocals). Nicolas wrote all the songs and the lyrics. My first impression of their music reminded me of a melodic Vanden Plas with a dash of Dream Theater, not an original sound or charting any new territory in the power/prog-metal genre, however, this disc has an abundance of melody.

    Highlights – “The Suffocating Silence” a heavy tune with crunching guitars, airy keyboards, all grounded by a tight rhythm section. “The Death of Faith and Reason” a hard rock tune that would fit nicely on a BLS album. I like the contrast between the frantic intro that effortlessly segues into the calm beginning of the verse on “Used to Be”. This song really shines with strong melody, great solos, and solid interplay between musicians. The rhythm of this intro is quite similar to “Holy Wars” by Megadeth. The last track, “Fall on You”, starts out with a lone clean guitar, vocals are added, and then a keyboard-bass interlude precedes the slamming presence of the entire band. The vocals really kick and this tune ties together everything great about this album. If you like melodic metal you should check this out.

    Posted on January 22, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Redemtion is a band following in the footsteps of a great band like Dream Theater.Though not as complex,they are in their own way a very tight and amazing band! While I don’t have the first 2 albums yet,The Origins of Ruin is getting played alot alongside the new Dream Theater.I can’t wait to see them live with DT in Houston on Aug.3.
    I recomend anyony who is into prog metal to pick this cd up,it’s a great album with alot of different aspects of the prog genre intertwined!Plus Ray Adler of Fates Warning is singing!I wish Fates sounded this good!

    Posted on January 22, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • First off, this is one of the best albums I have ever heard. I know other people say they have favorite albums or something, but I take music VERY seriously and it really takes a lot for a band to impress me. With that said, this album is PERFECT. When you look at what makes an album (musicality and togetherness of each of the band members, production quality, mix quality, perfect sense of scope, pacing, narrative, engaging and emotionally powerful lyrics, a singer capable of ‘wailing’, etc.) this album really has it all. It combines the best mix of great music, great singer, and engaging lyrics I have ever heard.

    When I listen to an album for the first time, I prefer to do it with a good pair of headphones and complete silence except for the music to get the full effect of the album and the intent of the band. By the end of the first time listening to it, I was in tears. It’s the most beautiful thing I have ever heard. It brilliantly combines elements of metal, i.e. sick guitar riffs and loads of double bass, with beauty by occasionally putting in these amazing guitar or piano melodies. Add on top of that the most amazing lyrics I’ve ever heard, and you’ve got an instant classic.

    The album focuses on many different subjects, from how a lack of communication can destroy relationships (‘The Suffocating Silence’), to the humility and brokenness found when you realize you have nothing left (‘The Origins of Ruin’), and finally, at the very end of the album, to a glimmer of hope and rebirth (‘Fall on You’).

    Usually an album has at least one song that is sub-par compared to the others (‘Scarred’ was the song on Redemption’s last album, “The Fullness of Time”, that fell short), but every song on “The Origins of Ruin” has excellent composition and musicality and is unique in its own right to its spot on the album. I consider the album to be in two parts, with each of the mini-epics (‘Memory’ and ‘Fall on You’, both at around 9 1/2 minutes) closing their respective half.

    The first part begins with the metal intro track of ‘The Suffocating Silence’, which explodes you right into the album (similar to Liquid Tension Experiment’s ‘Paradigm Shift’ on their first album). After that, it leads into the equally metal ‘Bleed Me Dry’ and ‘The Death of Faith and Reason’ tracks. The first half ends with the continuation of arguably the best song of 2005, ‘Sapphire’, which was released on Redemption’s TFOT, in the track ‘Memory’. The lyrics describe how a man misses all of the unique aspects of the girl he was with and how much it hurts him to leave her. There’s even a short guitar solo that has the main ‘Sapphire’ riff just to remind you, if you haven’t figured it out already, that ‘Memory’ continues ‘Sapphire’s theme.

    The second half begins with the hauntingly simple ballad ‘The Origins of Ruin’. Quite possibly my favorite track, Ray Alder’s singing is really highlighted on it with his voice in front of a simple repeated piano part. The next song, ‘Man of Glass’, once again punches you in the face after the calmness of ‘The Origins of Ruin’. ‘Blind My Eyes’ continues the progressive metal trance that Redemption is so good at putting you in, beginning with a nice synth patch and then evolving into a piano ballad, then eventually a quasi-pop song, but still done in the traditional Redemption method. ‘Used to Be’ is another song that begins with metal guitars and drums, reminding you, in case you forgot, that Redemption is progressive *metal*. The final track, ‘Fall on You’, is still battling with ‘The Origins of Ruin’ for my favorite track, though both are amazing. ‘Fall on You’ begins with a nice guitar riff and Alder’s voice soon soaring with Redemption’s trademark amazing lyrics and then evolving into the more metal side. This song is probably the most progressive with amazing technicality and musicianship from every member of the band, creating one of the greatests endings to an album I have ever heard (it seriously had me in tears).

    Overall, “The Origins of Ruin” is easily one of the most amazing albums I have ever heard and has officially solidified Redemption’s spot at the top of my favorite bands list. With their emotive and powerful lyrics, combined with Alder’s amazing voice and the musicianship of each band member, this band soars above any other. Production-wise, this album is much better than “The Fullness of Time”. The drums sound amazing (Chris Quirarte has really improved, too) and even the bass got turned up. This album is one of the best mixes I’ve ever heard and Tommy Newton really did a great job constructing it.

    In conclusion, I can’t recommend this band and this album any higher. They’ve been an inspiration to me and have set the bar for what powerful music really is. Unless Dream Theater and/or Riverside manage to make their best albums ever, I have a hard time seeing this album not in the #1 spot at the end of 2007.

    Posted on January 21, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Redemption’s second album The Fullness of Time proved to be such a well received album that the band quickly moved to Inside Out, releasing their debut album here, titled The Origins of Ruin. Largely sticking to the successful formula of its predecessor, the new album sees a slight lineup change in the addition of new bassist Sean Andrews from Henning Pauly’s Chain project. The rest of the band have refined their strength, still employing the services of the amazing producer Tommy Newton, who has rendered yet another hard-hitting sonic quality to the album. Once again, Nicolas van Dyk has written all music and lyrics, besides sticking to his multi-instrumentalist role as guitarist and keyboardist of Redemption.

    The Origins of Ruin could be evaluated as a two-part record in large: The first four songs are the more intricate tracks, carrying a distinct progressive awareness to them; while the last four cuts are more melodically enhanced straightforward pieces, with the short title track bridging these two parts with a smooth piano melody and mostly a capella vocals from Ray Alder, undoubtedly among prog metal’s greatest singers. Even though Alder did not co-write any of the songs, his ability to apply a melodic edge to even the longest verses is nothing short of stunning. His phrasing, the tone of his midrange voice and unique delivery attest to his versatility and it is highly questionable whether another vocalist could sing these lyrics the way they were meant. The track-listing of the album seems carefully planned, as both pieces that conclude the “parts” are the album’s longer tracks, breaking the nine-minute mark.

    This album could be Redemption’s most powerful one-two punch start to date. “The Suffocating Silence” begins with an assault of thrashy riffage strung across a neat synth line and solid rhythmic bottom. Without getting redundant, there is room for both a keyboard and guitar solo, accompanied by a gripping vocal melody — the instrumental finale of this song is so brilliantly executed that it evokes Liquid Tension Experiment, with drum fills akin to Mike Portnoy’s. Chris Quirarte’s drumming gets only better. He is fast becoming one of my favourites in the genre and his tone is solid as a rock. “Bleed My Dry” kicks off with a very strong guitar melody, which is later repeated by Alder during the chorus, and boasts a stomping bass and guitar interplay, whilst the song lyrically examines the state of mind of a person after a devastating break-up. The subject matter of the previous two albums is kept intact: van Dyk still uses dark themes of self-doubt, deceit, intolerance, and angst.

    “The Death of Faith and Reason” is the most complex and challenging Redemption song with its thick groove, aggressive (and slightly processed) vocal attack, and super technical arrangement. The subtle keyboard use behind the central instruments sort of recalls Threshold and the mix is possibly their heaviest yet. The first epic “Memory” is not only a worthy successor to the epic-length “Sapphire” off of their previous album, but it also blends myriad textures: sparse keyboards, wind effects, throbbing bass, and a strikingly catchy guitar theme. The song moves from mood to mood and serves it with fitting shifts of slower and heavier passages — and Ray Alder’s vocals are his best on the album, particularly those at the very end.

    Unfortunately, as good as The Origins of Ruin is, it does lose some momentum in its second half. “Man of Glass” is a straightahead melodic metal cut that plays it safe while “Blind My Eyes” is a midtempo, ballad-like track, but honestly, Nick has written much better ballads and the lyrics constantly addressing the theme of broken relationships does get stale after a while. Also, I feel the chorus just falls short compared to the more riveting harmonies most Redemption songs have been blessed with. “Used to Be” picks up the pace, utilising heavier fretwork, corrosive bass, and a moving guitar solo at the end. “Fall on You” closes the album, bringing in acoustic guitars, some nice backing harmonies, and cool Middle Eastern-scaled melodies, but the use of constant double bass and repeated guitar riffage during the middle part, with a lengthy synth melody, do give off the vibe that the song could have been cut at least two or three minutes shorter. Melodic metal is a great genre, but churning out repeating riffs can be overkill, as is the case here. Luckily, the last section of the song does regain its magic and wraps things up on a positive note.

    This album contains some of the best Redemption songs ever, but it does not maintain as consistent a flow as its predecessors. To its credit, the production here is Redemption’s best yet and their a multi-album deal promises more discs to come from them. Like label mates Riverside, they moved from the small (but amazing!) Laser’s Edge/Sensory to the best prog label in the world — news has it that Inside Out will issue this album with two bonus tracks, featuring covers by Tori Amos and UFO, so you may want to be on the lookout for it.

    With the departure of Threshold (and perhaps Evergrey as well) from Inside Out, I see no reason why Redemption shouldn’t become the label’s priority — they will get big. Mark my words.

    Posted on January 21, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now