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.