SARACEN – Redemption [Escape Music reissue] (2024)

SARACEN - Redemption [Escape Music reissue] (2024) - full

Although their genesis took place in the Seventies and original success occurred during the early Eighties, England’s SARACEN has had their their greatest output over the last fifteen years.
The band’s album “Redemption” was originally released a decade ago by Escape Music but as the physical CD went sold out, now the record label is reissuing the album for its tenth anniversary. “Redemption” finds Saracen working their symphonic prog and melodic rock from familiar strengths.
With creative song composition as a foundation, those strengths revolve around Rob Bendelow’s sharp riffs & dramatic leads, and Paul Bradder’s keyboards, which offer everything accent to pompy atmosphere to bright solos. It’s a formula that has worked well for the band, and works great on “Redemption” too.
Think a mix of TEN / Gary Hughes solo, Magnum / Bob Catley, Place Vendome, etc.

“Redemption” is not a concept album like previous Saracen albums. However, though not thematic, the song “Reacher” is based upon Lee Child’s vagabond ex-military police officer Jack Reacher (made kind of wish I had the lyrics for this song, even the entire album).
Another thing that struck me is that there’s some rather rockier material here. The aforementioned “Reacher”, “Swords of Damascus”, “Ready to Fly”, some of title track “Redemption”, but definitely “Crusader” venture into melodic metal.

“Crusader” takes a few minutes to build, but comes on hard and heavy at the midpoint. “Ready to Fly” and “Crusader” are entirely new arrangements of the songs from 1981’s Heroes, Saints and Fools. Generally, then, the majority of the album turns on more melodic hard rock.
But there are a few more relaxed, toned down, melodic rock songs like “Catch The Wave”, “Road To Yesterday”, and “More Than Missing You”. Yet even these have strong sparks of rock and groove. There’s one ballad, “You & I”, a duet between Steve Bettney and Karensa Kerr.

As usual, Saracen delivers top class music in “Redemption”, a greatly structured, musically varied and cleverly written album.
What I love from this band is their ability to blend sympho with pomp with melodic rock resulting in a wonderful, epic piece of music build around a super polished sound.
A bit heavier this time, the rockin’ approach for this record is more than welcomed, creating another milestone in the fructiferous career of this awesome, underrated band.
HIGHLY Recommended


01 – Rocamadour
02 – Reacher
03 – Give Me a Sign
04 – Geraldine
05 – Swords of Damascus
06 – Road to Yesterday
07 – Crusader
08 – Catch the Wave
09 – More Than Missing You
10 – Redemption (On the 6th Day)
11 – You & I
12 – Let Me See Your Hands
13 – Ready to Fly

Steve Bettney – Vocals
Paul Bradder – Keyboards
Rob Bendelow – Guitar
Simon Roberts – Guitar
Paul Highfield – Bass
Tris Alsbury – Drums



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