Redeemer - Double Edge Sword (Watergrave) 2007
1. King Of The Light” (4:07)
2. The Alpha The Omega” (4:18)
3. Warning” (5:53
4. Let The Light Shine On” (3:58)
5. Escape” (3:35)
6. Unite Believers” (3:03
7. Hard Rock Foundation” (4:01)
8. Eons Of Time” (3:36
9. The Story Is Told” (2:55)
10. Taking A Ride” (2:57
11. Under The Shadow” (3:04)
Redeemer is a band featuring guitarist Bill Menchen, known in Christian metal circles for his bands Final Axe, Rev Seven, Titanic, Menchen and The Seventh Power. Redeemer was his earliest band who formed back in 1984. The band recorded its first and only demo tape in 1986, which is described in the liner notes as a "poorly recorded cassette". The band broke up in 1989 and Menchen formed Final Axe. In 2007 Bill Menchen decided to re-record the old demo tracks, doing all the instrumentation himself. The recordings were released on two different CD, one being titled "Anno Domini" and the other "Dual Edge Sword", both released on Retroactive Records' sub-label Watergrave Records. The CDs consist of songs from the original demo as well as several other previously unrecorded tracks from Redeemer's past.
What is presented on "Double Edge Sword" is straight-forward heavy metal akin to bands like Saint, Omen, Obsession, and Final Axe. The songs are mostly mid-tempo and feature crunchy guitar riffs, fairly simplistic and pounding drums and driving bass. Unlike many other of Menchen's projects, there is a emphasis on guitar leads on this album, which I found not only surprising, but very enjoyable. Bill is a capable lead player.
Album opener "King of the Light" is one of the more uptempo songs and also one of the standout cuts with an infectious hook and a heavy guitar riff. The song features a lengthy instrumental section with some nice leads. "The Alpha The Omega" also features a nice instrumental section with the guitar and keyboard trading off licks. The six minute "Warning" stands out as not only the albums longest track but one of its heaviest as well. The song actually begins and sounds like it may be a ballad before the riffs kick in. Overall, the mastering and production values are good as well, showcasing an upfront guitar sound and pounding drums. The overall sound is a bit digital, but it's not distracting and certainly sounds good for a small budget recording.
Where this album fails, is in the vocals. Besides handling all the instruments, Bill Menchen also tackles the vocals. While his singing is okay, it is fairly mundane and lacking dynamics or charisma. Instead his vocals are drenched in effects. Playing the CD for a friend, he described the vocals as "Ozzy on downers". I've actually stated similar things about other Menchen releases. While I think Bill is a good song writer, proficient guitar player and comes up with some meaty riffs, I think he would do well to work with a vocalist.