The Redemption Song - Victims (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Redemption Song

Victims (2004)

Future Destination

The Redemption Song are a group of guys who want to change things. They want to bring back hardcore to what it was: music full of important ideals, and music that put people's minds to work. It's a lofty goal set by their press sheet, but one that is, if nothing else, attempting to do something most newer bands have shied away from, and that's having the drive to change the scene that they call home. While many have died for their ambition through time, these guys make it work for them in this 5-song EP entitled Victims.

Immediately, the music springs to mind the hardcore of old: raw, fast, and loud. This is a no frills, stripped-down version of hardcore, and it couldn't work better for them. Their gritty style is represented in every facet of the music, from the throat-straining vocals, gang singalongs, drop-tuned guitars, and lyrics with a social conscience. The song "These Days (They Hardly Knew)" is a great exhibit of what these lyrics and their message is about; "Sex, lies, and private eyes / Where cheap is a way of life / We're all so hungry, lusty eyed / With shallow hearts and empty lives / .. / Wake up and add the dollar signs and sex / And see what you've been sold." I wouldn't be opposed to more bands taking a similar lyrical path; as this exhibits, they do have some notion of ideals - songs don't have to talk about brotherhood, or blood and dying; other options do exist. The gang vocals aren't as strong as they could be, and while not used excessively, aren't enough to really make an impression or improvement, save for a few sporadic moments on this album. I'm not usually one to nitpick about such small details, and it really doesn't detract from any impact the album could have, but it is noticeable after repeated listens.

However, the vocals accent the instrumentation well for the most part. Again, nothing in this department is overly impressive, but what these guys do they do soundly. The production is pretty good, so the instruments are pretty hard hitting. Though again, nothing is overly difficult, at least not enough for it to ever become a problem. These guys aren't trying to outdo Dillinger Escape Plan on technical merit, so on that basis they've done well for themselves. The guitars do make you really get into it on occasion, but other times are just lost in everything. It's never really at the forefront of the music; that belongs to the vocals.

The Redemption song have recorded a pretty enjoyable 5-song EP here, though my main gripe with it is the length. Bands of this style are typically not know for epic songs, but a little more meat on the bones here wouldn't have hurt the replay value. At little more than 10 minutes, there's just not too much here. Overall though, for what it is, it'll be enjoyable for fans of Comeback Kid, Bane, and early punk. If that's your thing, I can think of a lot worse things to spend 5 bucks on.