I must admit, I have had mixed feelings about the band Red over the years. I did like the band’s debut, End of Silence, but I was not very fond of their follow up effort, Innocence and Instinct. I didn’t have any expectations for their latest opus, Until We Have Faces, but I was hoping it would be better then their last disc.
Red often gets lumped into every music genre you can think of including: Christian Rock, hard rock, alternative, metal and more. The music on Until We Have Faces is a marriage of all of those styles, and because of that, Red has turned in a pretty diverse album.
If you are looking for a super heavy album, Until We Have Faces is not going to be your cup of tea. There are some heavy numbers on the CD, including “Feed The Machine”, and “Faceless” but there just isn’t enough of them. “Feed The Machine”, the album’s opening song, took me by surprise. This is one of the heaviest songs Red has recorded, and easily one of the coolest.
The place where Red truly excels on this CD are with the mid tempo rockers. The songs, “Lie To Me (Denial), “Watch You Crawl”, “The Outside”, and “Who We Are” are easily my favorites on the album. “Watch You Crawl”and has a strong modern vibe with some cool Disturbed like moments in the music. “The Outside” may have the biggest potential for radio airplay on rock radio stations.
In my opinion, there are far too many slower numbers on Until We Have Faces. I think this album could have been much better with some additional harder tunes. Red has never been the hardest band in the world, so the balance will definitely please a lot of their fans.
Until We Have Faces ends with a very melancholy sounding ballad, “Hymm For the Missing”. While I enjoyed this song, it thought this CD would have been stronger if it closed with a rocking number.
While Red’s sound may not be completely original, Michael Barnes always delivers with a great vocal performance, and it is his voice that will keep bringing me back to this CD. Until We Have Faces isn’t perfect, but I have enjoyed most of it. I think Red has delivered another solid album that their fans are certainly going to enjoy.
1. Feed The Machine
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
Michael Barnes – lead vocals
Anthony Armstrong – lead guitar, backing vocals
Randy Armstrong – bass, piano, backing vocals
Joe Rickard – drums, percussion
Michael Barnes (vocals)
Jasen Rauch (guitars)
Anthony Armstrong (guitar)
Randy Armstrong (bass)
Still riding the momentum of its huge-selling Grammy-nominated debut album End of Silence, Red returns with Innocence & Instinct, a provocative new album forged in a perfect storm of inspiration and catastrophe. From the literary spark of Dante’s Inferno to the bloody aftermath of a 75-mph highway crash, Red absorbed a flood of ideas and emotions that empowered the band to create next generation rock songs. Finding the sonic sweet spot where epic and primal converge, Innocence & Instinct features animated dynamics that super-charge its innocence vs. instinct theme.
“Innocence & Instinct is about the duality of man,” explains guitarist Jasen Rauch. “The album examines the fight between our childlike innocence and the instinctive side that makes us do things we shouldn’t.”
The group’s debut, which sold over a quarter-million copies and earned several awards and nominations, focused heavily on personal struggles. Bringing back Silence producer Rob Graves and mixer Ben Grosse (Sevendust, Disturbed, Depeche Mode), Innocence & Instinct goes a giant step further by tackling the fight itself. It’s about the dueling impulses that wage war within our souls.
In writing the album, Red found Inferno to be an illuminating guide. The literary classic, which starts with Dante and Virgil standing before the Gates of Hell, illustrated ways in which the band might tackle deep issues in a more poetic way. And if Dante enhanced the storytelling, a highway crash in late ’07 accelerated the band’s emotional core. As the tour van smashed into a guardrail and violently slid sideways across the highway, the band experienced new heights of horror that they channeled into Innocence & Instinct.
“It brought an intensity and depth that we couldn’t reach without going through this experience,” Rauch reflects. “In the months after the accident, it felt like everything was in overdrive.”
“In a split second, it changed our lives,” adds six-stringer Anthony Armstrong, whose twin brother Randy handles the band’s basslines.
Setting the tone early, “Fight Inside” rides beautiful piano keys to an unforgettable chorus as glaring agitation builds to a savage finish. The song epitomizes the album’s effortless transitions between simmering angst, melodic hooks and pretty major-key resolves, while its inner-monologue sets up the lyrical theme by cursing the frail duality of innocence and instinct. “Death of Me” furthers the first-person schizophrenia as vocalist Michael Barnes cries “You tear me down and then you pick me up” against a backdrop of deafening guitars, sweeping symphonics and nerve-rattling screams. “Shadows,” co-written by Ben Burnley of Breaking Benjamin, pushes against the darkness while “Out From Under” could be called Fight Club with guitars.
“There are moments that switch between never feeling so close to someone to never feeling so abandoned, but that’s part of the human experience,” says Rauch. “These extreme feelings, these paradoxes, coexist all the time.”
While several songs veer toward an internal apocalypse, “Never Be the Same” personifies Innocence with optimistic reflections poured out over lush fields of electric and acoustic guitars. The piano-powered “Start Again” addresses the conflicted remorse of a failed relationship, while “Mystery of You” ponders the inexplicable over industrial-strength loops and keys. Innocence & Instinct even features a juiced-up cover of Duran Duran’s utopian “Ordinary World.”
Formed in Nashville, Tennessee over four years ago, Red made an immediate impact with its 2006 debut, End of Silence. The Grammy-nominated disc, featuring the radio hits “Breathe Into Me” (Top 10, Active Rock) and “Already Over” (Top 15, Active Rock), introduced the sonic layering, rich orchestration and visceral dynamics that became Red’s signature sound. The album steadily built momentum cracking the Billboard 200 a year after its release as sales steadily broke out to hundreds of thousands of copies sold. Not surprisingly, the album became a hit with other bands as well, leading to tours and shows with Papa Roach, Sevendust, Three Days Grace, Flyleaf, Buckcherry and Seether, among others. These opportunities contributed to the band’s impressive 500+ live show schedule between albums.
Heading into Innocence & Instinct, Red had no shortage of creative sparks. A near-death accident ignited their emotions, a literary masterpiece spurred their creativity, peer support lifted their spirits, heavy touring empowered their performances and fans challenged the group to do even more to impact their lives. These experiences infused Innocence & Instinct with layered narratives, heightened sensibilities and an artistic boldness that dramatically raises the bar for new millennial rock ‘n’ roll.
In Dante’s Inferno, the Gates of Hell read, “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” But when the Gates finally face Innocence & Instinct, Hell won’t know what hit it.
Innocence & Instinct Track Listing:
1. Fight Inside
2. Death of Me<
3. Mystery of You
4. Start Again
5. Never Be The Same
6. Confession (What’s Inside My Head)
8. Ordinary World (Duran Duran cover)
9. Out From Under
10. Take It All Away