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Redeemer – The Light is Struck (Reissue)

Redeemer
The Light is Struck (Reissue)
by Mark Machlay at 16 February 2021, 6:54 AM

Originally formed under the name APOCALYPSE, REDEEMER was a female fronted Australian thrash/speed metal band that was active around the latter half of the 1980s. They were not together long but made a lasting impact on expanding heavy metal with only one ground-breaking album that pushed the boundaries of thrash and speed metal into more progressive tendencies. The unique vocals of Cindy Grimwood would set the group apart from the mainstream, seemingly blending in so well with the rhythm section - simultaneously sounding both masculine and feminine given the mood. They are often compared to other American metal bands such as METAL CHURCH, VICIOUS RUMORS and HELSTAR. Unfortunately, not much is known about the band or where the members ended up after the band broke up.

The band did manage to release a whopper of an album in 1990. I would point the emergence of grunge as the main reason for the band fizzling out. It’s hard to get recognition when your chosen form of expression is seen as passé and beyond its prime. But with their soul album “The Light is Stuck”, the band were able to strike new ground, fueling further progression of power metal into progressive metal, refining the speed in thrash metal. Originally released in gatefold white vinyl with artwork by Nick Stathopoulos – a highly acclaimed Australian artist of Greek descent – it has become one of the most sought after collector’s items with original copies being sold for upwards of $1000. With the album cover, one may think you’re getting traditional European power metal with lots of fantasy tropes sprinkled into the lyrical material. That is not quite so and instead you’re given some intense riffage that is less fantasy and more in-your-face and aggressive.

I’ll be honest, I was quite taken aback. I judged the cover art before even listening and was completely blown away by this re-issue. Thankfully, Cult Metal Classics was able to come to an agreement with the band to not only release it but remaster it as well. Though the sound is quite 80s with the heavily reverbed snare and washed out guitar tone, the vocals are pure and crisp and production has an overall level of sheen that previous re-issues from Cult Metal Classics have not matched. Cindy Grimwood is certainly a lost gem, able to sound just as aggressive as her male thrash metal cohorts but also able to cut through the mix better with just the right mix of sonorities. Where they really shine is with the epic heavily progressive “Metallic Frenzy”  at times sounding drone-like as SABBATH pioneered but also enchanting and riff-laden going through many moods in its over 7 minute runtime. Not only is this a must-have entry into Australian metal history, it’s a great addition to heavy metal canon in general.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. The Light is Struck…
2. Heavy and Loud
3. Sinner
4. Transmuter
5. Magician
6. Metallic Frenzy
7. Apocalypse Riders
8. Burn In Hell
9. …The Darkness Splits
Lineup:
Mick Johnson – Bass
Scott Cooper – Drums
Adam Johnson – Guitars
Craig Vine – Guitars
Cindy Greenwood – Vocals
Record Label: Cult Metal Classics
     


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