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Articles Home » 2014 Articles » Saracen - 2014 Redemption
Saracen - 2014 Redemption

ARTIST: Saracen
ALBUM: Redemption
LABEL: Escape Music
YEAR: 2014


LINEUP: Steve Bettney - vocals * Rob Bendelow - guitars * Paul Bradder - keyboards * Richard Bendelow - bass * Jamie Little - drums

TRACK LISTING: 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 And I * 12 Let Me See Your Hands * 13 Ready To Fly



After the disappointing 2011 concept album 'Marilyn', British heavy pomp rockers Saracen return with the superb 'Redemption'. Now this is more like it! I rated their 2006 album 'Vox In Excelso' as one of the best albums of that decade (2000-2009), and I'm glad to see that 'Redemption' is right back up there. I'll forgive them for that last effort about the life and times of Marilyn Monroe, as the band contains the brilliant duo of singer Steve Bettney and keyboard god Paul Bradder. The songs on this new one will make a lasting impression. It did for me at least! I love how the band fuse British heavy rock with massive doses of symphonic keyboards.

The Songs
'Rocamadour' opens the album with huge synth swells, building upon a solid bedrock of riffs and keyboard dalliances. 'Reacher' is next, an ode dedicated to the film character Jack Reacher. You know the one? Tom Cruise played the part. It's a huge sounding track, Rob Bendelow goes down into some deep territory, with some very heavy chord-work. 'Give Me A Sign' features some tender piano work, but lifts for the bridge and chorus to become a power ballad of note. You know, if Judas Priest wanted to revert to a progressive style of rock similar to their earlier work, then they should be listening to Saracen. Paul Bradder introduces some organ parts for 'Geraldine' turning this into a Uriah Heep styled rocker. I like the big vocal choruses on this one too. When the band turn back the pages of history, such as they do on the epic 'Swords of Damascus', they come into their own. The dual guitar and synth solo spot are awesome. It's well suited to some of those big cinematic experiences. Soundtrack material? Oh yes. 'Road To Yesterday' is another to build slowly, but eventually Saracen wind out onto the highway and surge forward on this track.

It's back to the epic history books for 'Crusader'. Saxon, Diamondhead and Ten have all populated this medieval themed sub-genre in the past, but I think Saracen do it the best. 'Catch The Wave' is a modern sounding rocker, galloping along like a milder version of Iron Maiden for the first part. Bradder's synth work creates a point of difference, then the song moves into progressive territory and changes identity altogether. 'More Than Missing You' is Saracen doing AOR. An odd choice for them, but it sounds ok to these ears. My favourite track is the expansive 'Redemption (On The Sixth Day'), one of three songs to pass the 7 minute mark. The atmospheric keyboard work from Paul Bradder takes this into the Magnum universe. A rewarding listen all through, and when the after-burners are turned on halfway through, this song takes on a life of its own. 'You & I' is the album's wind down moment, meandering right throughout the course of the song. The closing epic 'Ready To Fly' is Rob Bendelow's moment to shine, as it is a mostly guitar-based rocker.

In Summary
Wow, that was a good solid workout for the ear-drums! It's a massive return to form for one of my favourite British bands. A huge redemption indeed! Though Escape Music don't put out many releases these days, it's good that Saracen are still on the roster. And as mentioned in some of my other articles, I feel that 2014 is the year where British melodic hard rock came into its own, and will be remembered as such in years to come.

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#1 | DEMONAOR on November 22 2014 02:36:31
A great album from a great british band George.
#2 | gdazegod on November 22 2014 02:42:47
I reckon! This is wickedly good.
#3 | Eric on November 22 2014 14:33:41
Wow, great review. Need to hear this!
#4 | gdazegod on November 22 2014 22:39:25
Saracen - 2014 Swords Of Damascus
YouTube Video:
#5 | gdazegod on November 22 2014 22:44:50
Saracen - 2014 Redemption (On The 6th Day)
YouTube Video:
#6 | gdazegod on November 23 2014 09:06:56
Saracen - 2014 Reacher
YouTube Video:
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