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Quite often people say that in the mid to late 90’s / early 00’s death metal was really weak and there wasn’t really much happening in this genre, except maybe few bigger bands that were releasing some decent album. Well, in some point such talking is right – at that time black metal really was in the centre of the attention of most people and death metal was just lurking from its back, but that doesn’t mean that everything was going on in this style of music from 1995 wasn’t interesting. There were still many great bands, which were releasing some good albums… maybe the older, classic bands such as Deicide, Unleashed or Grave were not able to match the quality of their early materials and thus they’ve been releasing some dull records, but some other bands really did hold the flag of death high. And maybe that was even better if we had just a few really mind blowing death metal bands, instead of hundreds, from which you don’t know what to pick up (like it happens nowadays). When talking about the bands from this time I usually tend to mention Fleshcrawl, Monstrosity, Immolation, Asphyx / Soulburn, God Dethroned, Dismember, Malevolent Creation, Krisiun, Nile, but I often forget about the Swedish masters of brutality – Vomitory. I don’t know why, anyway they for sure were one of the better death metal bands in that time and their second LP “Redemption” certainly was among my five best death metal albums released in the late 90’s. Yeah, so good it is…
The recipe for “Redemption” was very simple, I guess. First of all the proper production - it should be brutal, thick and damn powerful, so every sound will be killer, loud and aggressive and everything will be filled with energy able to devastate and turn everything into ruin. And damn, for sure Vomitory did achieve it perfectly. In my opinion the production of “Redemption” is awesome. To record everything at the Berno Studio for sure was a good decision and as I said I like the sound of the album. It has everything what I wrote above and nowadays it still sounds excellent and strong as hell. Once I put the volume up I can just feel that sheer aggression and powerful energy fills my apartment… walls crack and the ceiling falls apart…
And then there’re the songs… In original version “Redemption” contains eight tracks, including God Macabre’s “Ashes of Mourning Life” cover and well, they are all damn killer. They are very fast, very uncompromising, brutal and powerful, sometimes they’re almost grinding like crazy, but at the same time the material is varied, with plenty of slower parts spread through the album and even some more melodic patterns used here and there (but not over melodic, the album is extreme all the time!). Vomitory’s death metal is also quite hmm “catchy”, if I can say so… not over technical, but more straight forward, with memorable and impressive riffs, without any twisted and too complex parts, as this is brutal death metal, not maths lesson. And without bothering much about the originality Vomitory simply composed strong and powerful death metal songs and they succeeded; “Redemption” surely was one of the best death metal records of the late 90’s. But just listen to how this albums starts; first few songs are total blasting extreme motherfuckers: “The Voyage”, then the grinding “Forever in Gloom”… Finally “Heaps of Blood” will stop that madness a little bit, with some more midpaced tempos and groovy, almost melodic riffing and that is also continued with “Embraced by Pain”. And that’s good, if the speed is not something what the band concentrates on fully, but also cares about the songwriting and diversity. So, “Redemption” is a great achievement from Vomitory; even 14 years since its recordings it still sounds brutal and crushes the bones, so I have nothing more to desire.
There are two versions of “Redemption” and I must admit that personally I picked up the one released by Fadeless Records, as this CD contains some nice bonus tracks from Vomitory’s long sold out anniversary picture LP (released in 667 copies by Fadeless in 1999). So, we get five bonus songs from it – with three Vomitory’s tracks and two cover tunes: Napalm Death’s “Extremity Retained” and Sodom’s “Christ Passion”. More so, the booklet is filled with some archival band photos and some liner notes, so this CD version is really nice to have. Remember then… Death metal forever!
Standout tracks: “The Voyage”, “Forever in Gloom”, “Redemption”
Final rate: 85/100
Redemption marked a quite big step forward for a band like Vomitory. It was the second album in ten years of career. This surely helped them in pulling out all the rage they had inside and this new album was the definitive confirm of musical goodness by a truly strong and stubborn band. Musically, the style of death on this album differs a bit from its predecessor just because the speed is more important and it comes along with a terrific production, with bombastic sounds and ultra-clear instruments sound.
During the 30 minutes of music that here we can find, Vomitory take no prisoners. “The Voyage” already features al the elements we will find on this brutal opus. The blast beats are long and they perfectly support those massive riffs that at times they turned to be on tremolo. The vocals are growling but also fucking menacing, because they are powerful and dark without being cold or excessive. The mid-paced breaks are massive but soon the up tempo overcomes and “Forty Seconds Bloodbath” enters with all its charge of rage. The crust riffs with a massive death metal distortion make us ears bleed for pleasure. The march towards destruction by this band seems unstoppable and we pass through precise, clear-cut blast betas, furious up tempo beats and dark, pounding mid-paced sections.
The short “Forever in Gloom” adds more brutality and even this time we can really notice the increased speed of sound, if we consider the recent past of the band. The blast beats are far more present but what I like too is that even on these compositions, you can always find the more melodic solo or the simple element that can give the right dark touch. It’s not all about the sheer speed and often the tracks can be easily remembered. “Heaps of Blood” is more focused on the mid-tempo but the guitars volume is just overwhelming and even this time they are good at putting out the right dark lines. “Embraced by Pain” is maybe the most bound-to-the-80s track of the album because the clash of the crust/grind riffs with the death touch is awesome and also this contributes in making this song my favourite one on this album.
The massive drums work on this album gives the right add of heaviness to the sound and even on the following “Redemption” we can notice it. The double bass sections are pounding like bricks on the face but the slow, sluggish sections are just gore and truly heavy. They don’t disappear on the following Macabre cover “Ashes of Mourning Life” even if the classic up tempo is always there as the quantity of riffs is just ridiculous (in a good way). The final “Partly Dead” follows the line: final song equals massacre. Everything is straightforward and quite simple to gain power and impact. The short blast beats sections come out in a forest of up tempo and the main word here is intensity to end a very good album by Vomitory.
This is a pretty good DM album from Sweeden, by a band that’s usually overshadowed by their bigger peers (Entombed, Dismember, Grave…). Vomitory are pretty underrated but they did give us some memorable albums, specially this “Redemption”.
The sound here can be qualified as brutal death metal with thrash influences, unlike Dismember and their newer melodic influences and more violent and intense than Entombed’s “Clandestine”. There are also some hints of melody in the guitarwork (mainly the lead guitar), the drumming uses more blastbeats than the above bands and the vocals are true DM growls, instead of Sweden’s traditional extreme thrash vocals (Once again, vide Entombed and Dismember). Unlike newer american bands, the music is not EXTREMELY brutal. The agression is more controlled.
The riffwork has the DM element more prevalent, although there are some thrash riffs to be found in the songs. These riffs are found in the more midpaced sections, although they also can be found in the more aggressive parts. The DM riffs are pretty dark-sounding, although not particulary original. There are also some scarce doomy riffs (long, slooow as hell, brooding). These are featured in the more diverse songs (“Ashes of Mourning Life” and the title track). Melody is also present in the necessary dose in songs like “Embraced in Pain” and “Heaps of Blood”.
The soloing is pretty melodic and interesting, although not present in every song. When the guy decides show his talent, there’s some nice work on the way.
The vocals are also great. The growl is perfectly intelligible and somehow it manages to be pretty catchy. The vocalist sings in synchrony with the riffs (unlike, for exemple, black metal bands) and that’s also pretty cool to growl along. There aren’t screams or clean singing, just monotonous vocal delivery.
Competency is to be easily found in the drumwork, although not extremely variated. There are some different rhythms, double bass used mostly in the slower sections and a fair share of blasting, used always in the right moments. The fills are also catchy.
There isn’t subpar material here. It’s all pretty enjoyable, but I’d like to point as highlights the title track, because of the highly variated riffwork, “The Voyage”, with their simple but catchy DM attack, the nigh-perfect “Heaps of Blood”, which sounds like a DM update of a 80’s thrash song and “Partly Dead”, with its full speed aggression.
All in all, pretty good death metal, enjoyable and brutal. Recommended.
Look beneath you: this guy gave this album 80%. Sick, twisted insane son of a metalhead he is. This album must be the best I have ever heard in the scene - close above Revelation Nausea. Not only does this mean that Vomitory rules the Death charts worldwide, this also means that my sane future lies within their bloodstained hands. I cannot live without these guys!
This album is the most brutal, judging, grinding, punishing and relentless album I have ever heard - I love Rundquist's low growl, but Jussi Linna just takes it up a notch - making sounds that not even Belsebub himself could put up with!
I dont know which edition the guy that reviewed Redemption before me has, but I have the one with the built-in anniversary vinyl they gave out around 98. These last tracks are really mean, I mean really, really MEAN!
Highlights: Forty Seconds Bloodbath, Heaps of Blood, Embraced by Pain, The Art of War (from Revelation Nausea, but here with vocalist Jussi Linna) and the Sodom cover Christ Passion.
If you can get your paws on this album - do it! Its really worth it, this is the highlight of Vomitory's career. I dont know if they'll accomplish something like this ever again - and I dare not hope!
PS. I must pay my homage to Mr. T Gustavsson for his incredible drumming. Totally amazing work.
Allow me to start by saying I'm a huge fan of this band, and own just about everything they have done thus far. Redemption however, I have a little trouble getting into. I can't quite put my finger on it, but there is something about this album that is not nearly as enticing as their previous offering "Raped in their own Blood"
Repeated listens have led me to believe it's the production. The single downfall of many otherwise great Death Metal albums. Which is exactly what this would be if it weren't for the sound of the guitars. It lacks that deep grinding pitch and churn of songs like 'Nervegasclouds' and 'Perdition'. The guitars on this, instead sound weak and flaccid. That's really my only qualm with this disc. But it is irritating enough to detract from an otherwise perfect score.
There are a few high points on this album, where regardless of any production value or tone, they just get your neck moving. For the sake of brevity, I'll just name what, in my opinion are a few of the highlights. 'Heaps of Blood' is likely my #1 pick out of all of them. I really can't describe it, but it just has that groove. Definitely one of those standout tracks, regardless. I suppose the next would be the God Macabre cover 'Ashes of Mourning Life'. I guess this is what God Macabre would have sounded like if they grew up on Pestilence and Carnage? Simply god-like.
All in all, a very good album with some pretty noticable flaws in the mix that do detract a bit, but in the end...The quality of the songs here saves this from being just another Death Metal album with a shitty sound to it.