This Mortal Coil

1. Path Of The Whirlwind
2. Blink Of An Eye
3. No Tickets To The Funeral
4. Dreams From The Pit
5. Noonday Devil
6. Let It Rain
7. Focus
8. Perfect
9. Begin Again
10. Stronger Than Death
11. Departure Of The Pale Horse

Nick van Dyk – Guitars, Keyboards
Ray Alder – Vocals
Bernie Versailles – Guitars
Sean Andrews – Bass
Chris Quirarte – Drums

Redemption (2003)
The Fullness Of Time (2005)
The Origins Of Ruin (2007)
Frozen In A Moment / Live In Atlanta DVD (2009 )
Snowfall On Judgment Day (2009)


Recorded and mixed by Neil Kernon
Artwork by Travis Smith

Released 26/9-2011
Reviewed 21/9-2011



They say that it is a truth that inspiration often comes from your darkest moments, and for this band called Redemption I would believe that hold even more true than for most others. That is at least when thinking of their fifth album called This Mortal Coil which comes about three years after founder and guitarist Nick Van Dyk was diagnosed with terminal blood cancer, he was told he had three to five years left to live. This of course awoke thoughts of why and what to do and how to avoid this terminal fate, he found a guy who could treat him and he went through intense treatment and now the odds are in his favour again which means the cancer seems to have subsided. The effects of being faced with his own mortality still remains with Nick though and songs were also written while undertaking this treatment as well so Nick’s reflections on life, the irony of life and so on are all there, displayed within the songs of This Mortal Coil.

Nick states however in the promotional info that he didn’t want this to be a concept album about him and what happened to him, but you could still say that it is a soundtrack to a life shaken by such diagnostic at least if you are to believe the promotional information that followed the album. And I think you can note much of Nick’s ordeals in the songs, just looking at the titles it is rather obvious that many of them are centred around thought of life and death, and listening to the lyrics this becomes even more clear. I would say such things is an addition to the whole rather than a detractor, I also think there is a lot in these lyrics that all of us should think more about, life is short.

Musically this is a rather heavy album, it is progressive in a way that differ from the complex branch of the progressive metal, it is simpler than that and takes its progressive vein from the atmospheres rather than complex virtuosities. I would say that in many parts it reminds me of the brilliant A Pleasant Shade of Grey by Fates Warning, it is similar in style in many parts and it is Ray Alder singing and the lyrical theme of self reflection is also a similarity. It is also a musical creation that require some time for you to recognise the many elements in the music which is quite complex even though it looks much simpler on surface. Production is brilliant and does not defer anything from the songs, the vocals are more like one of the instrument rather than something standing over the instruments which creates a special atmosphere. This Mortal Coil has eleven tracks and it will require a bit over an hour to play in its entirety.

At first glance I thought this album was a bid bland and lacked quite a bit, it felt mostly quite heavy but without much else. After a few times though things started to appear, the many nuances of the musical style started to come out, the vocals made sense and all of a sudden the album felt really good. I think it has very much to offer through great songs and atmospheres and a style that you will not grow tired of in the first place, you should be prepared to give it a few times before you start warming up to the album though.

I think the opening Path of the Whirlwind is a very good opener and a good song, No Tickets to the Funeral is a brilliant track that catches my attention, same about the track I like best the sixth called Let it Rain which is a masterpiece. Begin again feels like a trackback to Let it Rain and a bit of a continuation of that song, very good and then the ending track is also a very good ten minute epic to round it all off. These tracks are the ones that I find to be slightly better than the other ones but the album as a whole is a very good album with no real shortcomings.

I think that you can say that cancer is not always the bad thing, look at what can be born from such diagnostic. Then of course it is probably never that much fun to end up getting it no matter what might follow so I really hope that the cancer chapter is over now for Nick and that he can remain well and create many more interesting albums in the future, this one is a very good album that I can strongly recommend.





Label: InsideOut
Three similar bands: Fates Warning/Nevermore/Queensrÿche
Rating: HHHHHHH (5/7)
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm

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