Three years on since the release of their concept EP, ‘Wanderer’, Canadian metalcore five-piece Red Handed Denial have returned with their sophomore full-length effort, ‘Redeemer’.
Continuing on with the concept of an anti-hero’s journey through limbo towards the afterlife, the record takes on a large amount of ambition to help push through a increasingly crowded and developing genre.
Using the narrative not only as a tool but also a navigator, the record is stylistically defined into two acts, not only strengthening the concept but also creating an experience as opposed to a collection of tracks. After the calming introduction of ‘Void’, progressive overtones are jammed into the furious riffing of ‘Awakening’.
Guitarists Chris Mifsud and Alexsi Perepelisto add layers of brutality on the first half of the record. From the grinding riffs that open ‘Empire’ to the broken and irregular patterns that charge through Abdication, the duo incorporate progressive ideas.
As the record unfolds into its latter half, the influences become more varied, and experimentation takes hold. ‘Worse For Wear’ takes the pop sensibilities of the group and pushes them to the forefront, with a bouncing chorus that’s held together by bassist Dominick De Kauwe and drummer Tyson Dang.
‘Locked In A Vacancy’ sees the group play with re-occurring motifs and shades of orchestration to dynamically push the track, whereas ‘Redemption’ takes the record to unexpected areas, pursuing a choir led route on its coda and ending on a bright and melodically interlocked a cappella based conclusion.
Amidst the technically ripe tracks and forays into additional genres, vocalist Lauren Babic leads the quintet throughout the record. Displaying an impressive range, Babic takes multiple forms throughout, jumping from the vicious screams displayed in ‘Elysium’ to stunning clean leads that dominate ‘Solace’ on a whim, adding layers onto already textured tracks.
Whilst the task of a concept record is admirable, it does begin to lose its impact towards its closing moments. That being said, ‘Redeemer’ is a record that does combine melody and heaviness well, albeit played safely at times.