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