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Saracen: Redemption
Saracen Redemption CD Album Review

Saracen: Redemption

Melodic Symphonic Hard Rock

Though their roots go deep into the Seventies and original success to the early Eighties, England's Saracen has had their their greatest output and success over the last ten years. This year's Redemption is the fourth album in this period, and finds the band working their symphonic and melodic rock from familiar strengths. With creative song composition as a foundation, those strengths revolve around Rob Bendelow's sharp riffs and dramatic leads and Paul Bradder's keyboards, which offer everything accent to symphonic atmosphere to bright solos. It's a formula that has worked well for the band.

Beyond those familiar expectations, I noticed to several particular things about Redemption. The first is something simple: this is a long album, almost 70 minutes of music. I was tempted to listen to it in halves but, instead, just dove right in. Also, Redemption is not a concept album like the previous two albums. However, though not thematic, the song Reacher is based upon Lee Child's vagabond ex-military police officer Jack Reacher. (Made kind of wish I had the lyrics for this song, even the entire album, but not so.)

Another thing that struck me, not so much as odd, but slightly different than previous albums is that there's some rather heavy material here. Reacher, Swords of Damascus, Ready to Fly, some of Redemption, but definitely Crusader venture into melodic heavy metal. Crusader takes a few minutes to build, but comes on hard and heavy at the midpoint. Ready to Fly and Crusader are entirely new arrangements of the songs from 1981's Heroes, Saints and Fools. Generally, then, the majority of the album turns on more melodic hard rock. But there are a few more relaxed, toned down, songs like Catch The Wave, Road To Yesterday, and More Than Missing You. Yet even these have strong sparks of rock and groove. There's one ballad, You & I, a duet between Steve Bettney and Karensa Kerr. Fundamentally, the bottom line is that Redemption is more fine melodic symphonic rock from Saracen, but what else would you expect. Recommended.

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In Short

The bottom line is that Redemption is more fine melodic symphonic rock from Saracen, but what else would you expect. Recommended.

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