Some albums are never quite what you expect and 'Redemption', the fourth full length from Polish extreme Metal quartet Preludium is one of those releases.
Their previous three releases covered the usual topics you would expect from a band with black and death Metal at the core of their sound; war, blasphemy and desecration.
For this release they have gone in a completely unexpected direction and gone for a spiritual theme to their lyrics and have involved Kunal Gonsalves from the Indian extreme Metal band Stark Denial who has penned the lyrics, inspired by the teachings of Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda, Indian Yogi and Guru.
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What makes this even more surprising and impressive is that far from being a soft edged or lightweight album, as you might expect, given the source of lyrical inspiration this release still has all the brutal edge to the sound found on their earlier releases.
The album is still drenched in black and death Metal influences and they haven't compromised on their aesthetic vision of their overall sound, which remains both intense and atmospheric.
The ten tracks of 'Redemption' take you through an aural exploration of morality, determination and escape from the circles of life and death.
I can find nothing to dislike across the album from opening track 'Soul Torment' with its atmospheric storm like opener that builds in intensity over the first minute to the final intense, blackened track 'Sins Of Mankind'.
All the individual elements are good. The vocals, a harsh gut wrenching growl that is deep yet has a good range and the strong and intense drum work is not just brutal, there are also some great patterns, particularly on 'Altars Of Redemption', excellent guitar work that moves from riffs that are crushing and oppressive to brooding and deliberate, particularly on 'Incarnations', a hugely atmospheric track.
I also think Kunal has done an excellent job with the lyrics, not at all what I expected from the description that came with the album.
The overall combination is presented with stunning Polish style, that intense yet equal balance between brutal mechanical drumming and powerful and oppressively heavy riffs that are so impressive about the Polish sound, rounded off with equally powerful vocals make this a great album start to finish.
There were a couple of standout tracks for me, 'Destiny Of Mortals' because of the heavy as hell, hypnotic groove that permeates this track and the intense layering of sound and the hauntingly hypnotic and sinister 'Hatred Breeds Suffering' with its exotic soaring riffs, sandwiched with intense drum patterns and the combination of spoken and growled vocals, combining to give an dark exotic feel.
I didn't expect to like this, I thought it might be a little to spiritual for my tastes but it is excellent, a delightful chunk of brutality.
Available to purchase as a digital download from http://transcendingobscurity.bandcamp.com/album/redemption.