Posts Tagged Red

Red: Release The Panic Review

Red had big shoes to fill with the release of their fourth album, which followed the nearly flawless Until We Have Faces. Here’s why Release The Panic doesn’t even come close to the mastery of the band’s best work.

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Red: End Of Silence Review

Red may be classified as a Christian band, but their positive message of hope for mankind certainly doesn’t hold back their heavy brand of alternative metal and hard rock. And despite the connotations of being tagged as “metal,” Red displays a fairly impressive amount of musicianship by employing an abundance of string instruments in their songs, transforming would-be one-dimensional rock songs into experimental and dramatic works of art worthy of conveying the band’s urgent  and passionate message. While Anthony Armstrong and Jasen Rauch provide a base layer of heavy electric guitar riffs, lead singer Michael Barnes adjusts his voice to appropriately match the tempo and flow of each song, ranging from scratchy and harsh vocals of desperation to harmonic wails of emotion. Although Barnes’ croaky vocals can be a little cumbersome on some of the straight-forward heavy rockers, End Of Silence does a pretty good job of mixing up the tempo, especially because of the effective strings. In the end, this debut isn’t the most impressive album to ever grace the Christian rock charts, but it is a promising start and a testament to this band’s talent as composers.

Standout Tracks

The amped up guitar riffs, Hayden Lamb’s heart-pounding drumming and an epic background of violins, violas and cellos make “Breathe Into Me” the best example of what Red is capable of. The desperate theme of falling and realizing in that desperation that you need God is accentuated by the dramatic string ensemble as well as Barnes’ magnificent vocals, which fluctuate between raspy croaks and pitch-perfect bellows of “Breathe your life into me / I can feel you / I’m falling, falling faster.” There are a lot of heavy and gallant songs on End Of Silence, but none are as captivating as this first single.

Following another dynamic opening track, “Already Over” switches up the pace for the first time, delivering a slower song with just as much impact. The use of strings is just as affecting as before, but as Randy Armstrong’s piano (first seen on the album’s intro) makes a reappearance, it gives an already tense song its sense of tragic remorse. The chorus picks up the tempo as Barnes and his crew rock out, giving this hard rock ballad more firepower to make a lasting impression.

“Pieces” is more of a traditional ballad than the heavier “Already Over.” This heartfelt and instrumental-dependent ballad simply consists of emotive piano, transcendent strings, acoustic guitar and Barnes’ smoothest vocal performance of the album. Although fans of Red probably won’t connect as much with this slower track, it’s songs like this that show the most promise and potential for this band as they continue to grow as composers and songwriters, as Barnes delivers the affecting words on overcoming sin, “Then I see your face, I know I’m finally yours / I find everything that I lost before / You call my name, I come to you in pieces so you can make me whole.”

The Verdict

Despite the post-hardcore screams and a few overbearing hard rock songs, End Of Silence ends up being more meaningful than anything Linkin Park’s done in years, regardless of taking the Christian themes into account. The use of strings transforms one-dimensional alternative metal songs into arresting masterpieces packed with feeling and sincerity not often seen in this genre. Barnes vocals aren’t always steady, but his fluctuation between frustration and compassion is remarkable when he really gets into it. Fans of Thousand Foot Krutch, Linkin Park, Breaking Benjamin, Three Days Grace, Skillet, Pillar, Evans Blue, Disciple and Demon Hunter should appreciate the Christian themes and hard rock intensity of Red. Because although End Of Silence has its definite flaws, it’s a very solid start to a promising future for the band.

Final Score: 7.1/10

Rank: 3rd (three total albums)

Track List

  1. Intro (End Of Silence)
  2. Breathe Into Me
  3. Let Go
  4. Already Over
  5. Lost
  6. Pieces
  7. Break Me Down
  8. Wasting Time
  9. Gave It All Away
  10. Hide
  11. Already Over, Pt. 2

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Red: Until We Have Faces Review

Red is a Christian hard rock band whose work feels truly inspired all the way from the intense and frenzied passion each song possesses down to the depth of the music’s meaning. Distinguished by the implementation of string instruments for the majority of their music, Red shies away from the heavy promotion of the strings on Until We Have Faces in favor of utilizing them as a background accompaniment. This strategy translates well, giving the songs elevated and dramatic tones and allowing the strings to contribute to and characterize the music rather than dominate it as in the past. Red’s third album is more complete than ever before, broadcasting a wider range of songs that all unite under the same theme of finding one’s identity, a theme inspired by C.S. Lewis’ writing, especially his novel, Till We Have Faces, which also inspired the album name. Each track brings something diverse to the mix, making Until We Have Faces Red’s best album yet.

Standout Tracks

“Feed The Machine” sets a harder tone for the album from the very beginning with some flighty and scaling guitar-chugging and scattered hammering on the drums before Michael Barnes’ scream bursts into the mix. The bridge before every chorus builds up tension with throaty growls, as well as Anthony Armstrong’s heavy scaling guitar that defines this song about breaking free of the chains of apathy and evil of the world, “the machine.” Joe Rickard’s steady beat on the drums, choral harmonizing and soothing strings fade this song out, setting up the next sensational track perfectly. If not for “Faceless,” this hard rocker of plentiful screams would claim the title of best on the album, but at the very least, it can be added to Red’s arsenal of hard rock hits.

“Faceless” illustrates the band’s talent for taking a hard rock song and making it more compelling and accessible through the use of string instruments, especially during Barnes’ well-executed cries of “Faceless!” during the chorus. Rickard’s drums, Armstrong’s guitar and Randy Armstrong’s bass are all on point here, allowing for the strings’ dramatic appeal and Barnes’ spectacularly urgent vocals to shine through. Red’s first single also proves to be the best on the album, which they showcased in a live performance on Conan.

“Lie To Me (Denial)” continues the streak of dramatic and tense music, employing the strings prominently amidst some heavy guitar riffs. The chorus is an explosion of sound accentuated by Barnes’ heartfelt and desperate wailing. The accompanying strings and backing vocals lend to Barnes’ voice to properly convey the urgency behind the music. The song’s meaning sticks with the central theme of the album in trading lies and the ways of the world for truth and love.

“Buried Beneath” establishes itself as one of the album’s best tracks through slower verses that lead into the charged chorus. The verses utilize quiet and reflective guitar along with reserved vocals from Barnes. They are quickly followed by a killer chorus comprised of Barnes’ strong and escalating vocals, amplified guitar, thundering drums, choral background vocals and heavy influence from the violins, violas and cellos, all of which contribute to the song’s tumultuous nature.

Hymn For The Missing” is a brilliantly executed ballad about lost love, standing out over the other few ballads scattered throughout Until We Have Faces. Beginning with Randy Armstrong’s heart-rendering piano, listeners can immediately tell they are in for something special. Barnes’ voice is appropriately soft and composed, and when mixed with the melancholy and engrossing piano, will subdue any fan of music. The strings slowly transition into the song, adding to its tragic mood. The song closes with some harmonizing and sweeping strings, concluding the album on a reflective note.

The Verdict

Almost every track is worth listening to on Red’s definitive third release. Until We Have Faces not only reigns as their best work yet because the songs are all engaging, but also because the themes covered here are more profound, united and reflective than ever before. Fans of Thousand Foot Krutch, Skillet, Breaking Benjamin, 10 Years, Three Days Grace and Pillar, or anyone looking for harder music with deeper meaning,will appreciate Red’s musical artistry, despite some screaming that may deter some listeners. But the music’s overall appeal, the band’s inspiration from C.S. Lewis’ novel, Till We Have Faces, and the subsequent lyrical depth, Until We Have Faces establishes itself as Red’s crowning achievement so far.

Final Score: 9.4/10

Rank: 1st (three total albums)

Track List

  1. Feed The Machine
  2. Faceless
  3. Lie To Me (Denial)
  4. Let It Burn
  5. Buried Beneath
  6. Not Alone
  7. Watch You Crawl
  8. The Outside
  9. Who We Are
  10. Best Is Yet To Come
  11. Hymn For The Missing

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