Although it should have been obvious all these years, for some odd reason, This Mortal Coil only now convinces me how much Redemption is a platform for Nicolas van Dyk's impressive songwriting and fret skills. Perhaps it's the fact the songs revolve around his personal struggle with the diagnosis of and recovery from blood cancer. More likely, is the fact that the songs are laced with an abundance of his imaginative guitar work; or that the compositions reflect the ongoing and consistent blend of heaviness and brooding with melody. With little doubt, This Mortal Coil is both a Redemption and van Dyk album once more.
And don't expect to digest This Mortal Coil in a single listen; at better than an hour there's much going on here, and don't expect to much brightness. Path of the Whirlwind, Blink of an Eye, Perfect, and Begin Again are only a few examples of songs formed by heavy and foreboding riffage. And most every song ultimately leads to van Dyk's guitar solos (which is not meant to be a bad thing). Sometimes, however, additions and unexpected eruptions from others are apparent. For instance, the synth solo within Blink of an Eye or Let It Rain; the bass and piano segue about four minutes into Dreams from the Pit; the strong bass line within Stronger than Death or Departure of the Pale Horse; or, the interesting drumming within Perfect.
Prog wonks my find No Tickets to the Funeral and the longer Departure of the Pale Horse as both traditional and accessible prog metal. Certainly the latter proves this in it's entertaining complexity and as it shows that not everything about Redemption revolves around a guitar solo. Possibly, the most interesting, and disappointing, feature of This Mortal Coil is Ray Adler's (Fate's Warning) vocals. Mostly they seem muted, or as if he's fighting against the music just to rise above it. The possible exception comes on the unexpectedly lighter (relatively speaking in context) Let It Rain where Adler seems win the battle. And, next to Departure of the Pale Horse, it's likely the best track on the album. Focus my be another track where Adler gets a better push. But all this makes me wonder if, in a live context, whether we would actually hear him.
This Mortal Coil finds Nicolas van Dyk's Redemption consistent and constant: delivering heavy and dark, complex and entertaining progressive metal to savor with great attention. Well recommended.
This Mortal Coil finds Nicolas van Dyk's Redemption consistent and constant: delivering heavy and dark, complex and entertaining progressive metal to savor with great attention.