GRAMMY-nominated rock band RED’s second album, Innocence & Instinct, is a primal and provocative look into the dark and sometimes seemingly hopeless “fight inside” each one of us, told through the powerful sphere of the band’s hard-hitting, intense music. “Innocence” is where we all begin. “Instinct” can quickly take over. A lifetime is spent in this internal tug-of-war between who we really are and who we hope to be. Produced by the award-winning Rob Graves, mixed by Ben Grosse (Sevendust, Disturbed, Depeche Mode) and including a song co-written by Benjamin Burnley of Breaking Benjamin, Innocence & Instinct is thoughtful and powerful rock music, with a challenging look at the personal struggle inside each of us.
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Good, But Not As Good As It Could Be| Posted May 13, 2010
Let me say initially, I like Red, a lot. I think they are really talented musicians who can craft brilliant melodies and songs. Which makes me ask, why do they scream so much?
Yes I know, some love the screaming, but it just feels so out of place for me, especially on tracks such as "Fight Inside," "Confessions(What's Inside My Head)" and "Shadows." I like the songs a lot and I feel the out-of-place screams really mar them.
"Death of Me" is the only song where I feel them tolerable and maybe somewhat complementary to the rest of the song. And the song is definitely a good and catchy song.
When Red doesn't scream, musical brilliance is left. "Start Again" is an epic track that feels like it's taken straight out of a movie score. "Mystery of You" and "Forever" are strong rock tracks. Their cover of Duran Duran's "Ordinary World" is also musically amazing. And the slow-building "Take It All Away" bursts into a beautiful and memorable finish, bringing the album to a fantastic close.
Call me biased, but Red just sounds so good when they don't scream, it makes the times they do scream a bit lamentable. I hope the screaming is again dialed down on their next release, albeit a bit selfishly. I just feel that with less screaming, I can learn to LOVE Red rather than just like.
Top 10 Album Of 2009| Posted January 04, 2010
The "sophomore slump" is more than just a phrase. It's a reality that many bands face after having years to write and shape their debut release, only to find themselves forced back into the studio months later to record their "much-anticipated" follow-up. Many times, recreating the magic is tough to do and results in a disappointing, and under-performing album. Thankfully, the Grammy-nominated rock act, Red, took one giant leap over this common hurdle, releasing one of the best albums of the year in the midst of massive competition in the Christian rock genre.
The group?s debut, which sold over a quarter-million copies and earned several awards and nominations, focused heavily on personal struggles. Bringing back End Of 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.
The band continues to use full orchestra and string arrangements to compliment heavy hitting guitars, strong drums, chest-beating bass and aggressive vocals. It's definitely more melodic than what a group like Skillet is doing, and you get a feeling of what a true rock opera would sound like when listening to songs like "Death Of Me," "Mystery Of You" and "Start Again."
Like any great rock act, the power ballad stands strong, and songs like "Never Be The Same" and the surprising Duran Duran cover of "Ordinary World" are two of the best tracks on the album.
Red has emerged as a powerful player in what has been a huge year for Christian Rock and with their ability to excel at many styles while layering their music with many different instruments, this band is sure to continue to lead the way in the years ahead.
Red [Innocence & Instinct]| Posted February 23, 2009
I only really knew Red?s hit songs ?Breathe Into Me?, ?Already Over? and ?Let Go? before I first heard ?Fight Inside? in January, 2009. Since then I have listened to the rest of ?Innocence & Instinct? and the rest of ?End Of Silence? almost daily over the past couple of weeks and I?m truly a fan of this band now. Since getting hooked by the amazing music and excellent vocals by Mike Barnes, I?ve had some time to listen more closely to the themes of both albums. Just today, the lyrics of ?Start Again? really struck me, particularly the idea of how God gives us another chance when we mess up ?what if I want to make it right, what if I give it up, what if you take a chance, what if I learn to love, what if we start again?. There are some other songs with seeker-filled lyrics like the closer ?Take It All Away? which includes the bridge ?I'm breaking, I can't do this on my own, Can You hear me screaming out? Am I all alone??
The cover of Duran Duran?s ?Ordinary World? is one of my favorite songs on the album along with ?Never Be The Same?, which is a wonderful ballad and reminded me of the softer songs on ?End Of Silence? like ?Pieces? and the softer parts of ?Lost?. I especially love the chorus of ?Never Be The Same?: ?I'll never be the same, I'm caught inside the memories, the promises, our yesterdays when I belonged to You, I just can't walk away, ?Cause after loving You, I can never be the same.? I am so impressed by the music and production mingling the harder rock guitars, soft strings and the emotive vocals of Mike Barnes, I am even starting to enjoy the ?screaming? in some of the harder songs like ?Fight Inside?, ?Death Of Me?, ?Confession? and ?Out From Under?.
The message of many of the songs is very positive and although Red has had mainstream success, I don?t question the spiritual seeking nature of the lyrics, which are naturally much more Christ-centered than mainstream metal bands like Linkin Park that many have accurately compared to Red. If you like Pillar, Linkin Park and 80?s hard rock bands Motley Crue and Judas Priest, then you?ll enjoy Red.
A MAJOR BREAKTHROUGH FOR THESE MAINSTREAM MEGA-STARS| Posted February 12, 2009
Even though Red found its initial footing in the Christian market and remains unashamed about its faith, the heavy rockers are now bonafide mainstream superstars. Following 2006’s GRAMMY-nominated End of Silence, the group toured with the likes of Sevendust, Buckcherry, Three Days Grace, Puddle of Mudd, Staind and Seether, while also scoring a slew of secular singles. No wonder anticipation for the band’s second CD has been building to a fever pitch, which unlike most sophomore dips in the road, actually surpasses the crossover act’s exceptional debut.
Much of the expansion in sound and lyrical substance is likely the result of refinement on the road, which is noticeable in the ultra-tight riffs of “Fight Inside” and the bellowing banter of front man Michael Barnes with his conscience during the hardcore-tipped “Death of Me.” Even with the pummeling performances, Red maintains its melodic charm, with “Mystery of You” earning additional strength from a stirring string section. Come “Never Be the Same,” the guys showcase their acoustic and stripped down side, but still present plenty of power (similar to Skillet’s recent material).
Fans of ’80s icons Duran Duran will certainly find a cover of “Ordinary World” incredibly inventive, while those who were born well after that track first hit the airwaves can still identify with its message of striving for societal utopia. Of course, Red’s grounding in Christ still remains rock solid as evidenced throughout the cleansing cries of “Confession (What’s Inside My Head)” and the piano-bathed prayer of surrender “Take It All Away.” It’s a fitting way to start a new year that not only finds the foursome exploding with intrigue across all 10 tracks, but potentially expanding its ministry platform even wider than the first time around. –Andy Argyrakis
This review has been reprinted on NRT with permission ChristianMusicPlanet.com. Click here to visit ChristianMusicPlanet.com today!
Red's "Innocence & Instinct": A Review| Posted February 10, 2009
by Kyle A. Kiekintveld
“Innocence & Instinct” is an album that would be very hard to improve upon. It has guitar riffs that any rock fan would love, loud lyrics that remain approachable and a fair amount of originality. The content of this album is strong. While it is not the most overtly Christian album ever, it has its moments.
This album deserves to stand with the better Hard Rock albums, secular or not. It is a good mix between hard tracks and mellow tracks, while never moving away from the bands obvious strengths. Strong lyrics, great loud and bold instrumental work with a dash of softer emotion.
The album has a cover of Duran Duran’s “Ordinary World” that quickly became my favorite track on the album. I am not a huge Duran Duran fan, and am often against putting covers on albums (unless they are live albums), but this cover blows the original out of the water. It is simply a stunning cover of an amazing song.
“Death of Me” is one of the hardest cuts in the album. The song centers around inner demons, but being one of, if not the hardest song on the album it is still approachable. The lyrics are well crafted. The guitar riffs are fresh and vivid. The bass on the track is deep and rumbling.
Author’s Note: This is another album I really want to give a five. It is really hard to not give it a five. Perhaps the only thing that holds me back is the question of will I listen to it with the same frequency in a month? In two months? It is a GREAT album. If you like Hard Rock this is one of the better albums I have listened to in a VERY long time.
This review has been reprinted on NRT with permission from The Christian Manifesto. Click here to visit TheChristianManifesto.com today!
Innocence or Instinct?| Posted February 11, 2009
When Red burst onto the scene in 2006 their debut album The End of Silence was hailed as a brilliant hard rock crosser-over album. While it seems longer than two and a half years since their debut which bagged a Grammy nomination Now Red is back with their sophomore album Innocence and Instinct a rock CD that explores the inner fight that we all battle.
Unlike most hard rock bands Red doesn’t deal in blazing guitar riffs, or screaming vocals though there are spots of both, Red’s music thrives on artistic music leading up to very up-tempo songs which are controlled brilliantly by lead singer Mike Barnes. The opening track “Fight inside” gives a lot of insight on what to expect on Innocence and Instinct: the cutting-edge instrumental intro, which begins many of the albums songs, paves the way for the hard rock music to begin, however the band restricts their loud base and blaring music allowing them their hard melodies to be very accessible even to those who don’t like hard rock. The one drawback to “fight inside” and on other tracks, is the absolutely unnecessary outburst of screaming vocals and demon hunter-like music which messes up the balance of the song.
The Achilles Heel of the music is those out-of-place shifts to a heavy metal band which deserves an entire rack—not a place on already solid tracks that have a great rhythm. The constant intrusion of sceamo infiltrates around a artistic chorus on “out from under” a song that compacts metal, with good hard rock often before ending in a rare electric guitar frenzy. The leading up to the incredibly crisp refrain of “death of me” is muffled rock music which points to the artistic qualities of Red along with “never be the same” which is the weakest song in terms of originality but still packs a punch.
It’s strange to hear a song like “shadows” which features the song writing of Benjamin Burnley (Breaking Benjamin) show the restraint to go over the top with heavy rock music and even stranger when the song ‘s tune is almost upbeat totally opposite to serious topics that are being sung about. This non joyless style, echoed in the covering of Duran Duran’s song “ordinary world”, is both unexpected and brilliant. A couple more examples of Red’s excellence is “start again” which is another song which stays hard but doesn’t go over the top and “mystery of you” which has a Flyleaf and Anberlin flair with it’s immensely enjoyable artistic rock tune.
The inner battle within all of us is detailed in Romans 7:18-25 and guitarist Jasen Rauch expounds on that theme: ‘Innocence and Instinct is about the duality of man. The album examines the fight between our childlike innocence and the instinctive side which makes us do things we shouldn’t’. “Confession (Whats Inside My Head)” is the title track in theme as it admits ‘It's part of my instinct’ but eventually runs toward the innocence of life ‘I'll run away/From everything I hate/Take this away/Help me escape/Take this away’. That subject is dwelled upon in “death of me” which wrestles with addiction to, regrettably, no positive outcome and so does “fight inside” when considering the internal clash (‘It's breaking me/I'm falling apart’).
To be fair there is a decent amount of angst, frustration, and hopelessness spread across Red’s ten track CD. “Out from under” cries from a dark place for God’s help but receives no answer and the final cut “take is all away” echoes similar sorrow (‘I'm breaking, I can't do this on my own/Can You hear me screaming out?/Am I all alone?’). Unfortunately “Ordinary world” does take a humanist stance on the trouble of this life (‘And as I try to make my way/To the ordinary world/I will learn to survive’). However it would be unfair to ignore all the positive outcomes that rise through the instinct like “shadows” which doesn’t rely on inner strength while standing in darkness, but God (‘I'm holding on to You/I'll never let go/I need You with me as I enter the shadows’). Other songs like “mystery of you”, “start again”, and “never be the same” all acknowledge the one key for survival, though admittedly the references to God are restricted to pronouns.
So where does this album lie: Innocence or Instinct? There is enough depression to pick on to take the instinct side yet what about the tracks that echo salvation clearly? There is no clear cut answer but for those who take the time to discern and pick apart Red’s conflict between the flesh and the spirit will be rewarded with hope and a stunning rock album to go along with it.
Red [Innocence & Instinct]| Posted February 08, 2009 [MAIN REVIEW]
Compare to: maybe some Linkin Park mixed with the melodic sounds of Anberlin, and some of the darkness and mystery of Savior Machine. Nice road trip music, lyrics a bit vague at times, but over-all a positive message.
Red’s newest offering, Innocence and Instinct, follows closely in the footsteps of their freshman album, End of Silence, although a bit darker, and a bit edgier. In all honesty, the lyrics come across as mostly depressing. The melodies capture angst, heart ache, and a desire to be saved, but don’t very clearly depict any type of salvation or hope. That’s not to say it’s all bad, the music is catchy and at some points definitely makes you want to scream along.
The most well known song on the album so far is the second track, “Death of me.” The music video is available on Youtube or MySpace, and shows more clearly that the fight inside the lyrics talk about is a fight within yourself. It brings to mind the phrase, “you are your own worst enemy.” The first track, “Fight Inside” is based on the same theme of “Death of me.” Both songs are about an internal struggle to do the right thing, to fight evil that we all have lurking just under the surface. In a press release, guitarist Anthony Armstrong said that “The song is really a regretful introspective moment, where you realize that your own actions have led you down a path you never wanted to take. You are the one who keeps tearing yourself down in some kind of vicious cycle that never seems to end.”
“Mystery of You” is going to get stuck in your head if you listen to it a few times, but that’s not a bad thing. One real positive about this song is that it is closer to talking about God than at any other point in the album. In the lyrics, the word “You” in this song is capitalized, intoning that the “You” they are referencing is Christ, wanting to get closer and learn more about the mystery of God. It’s not necessarily a bad thing to be vague in music about God and Jesus, because if what you’re trying to say is not so blatant, you’ve got a better chance at reaching a wider audience with a message of God’s hope. Some Christians look down on this practice, thinking of it as weak or fearful Christianity. I disagree. There needs to be music out there that doesn’t put pressure on the listener to convert, but invites them to freely enjoy the album, and know that Christian music does not have to be threatening.
Coming later in the album is a cover of the song “Ordinary World,” by Duran Duran, an 80’s rock band from merry ol’ England. Turning this retro rock song into a melodic, Red flavored ballad, Red showcases a few more of their artistic talents. Although certainly a sound from another era, the song fits fairly seamlessly in with the rest of the album contents.
“Take It All Away,” is the last song on the standard edition, but for the dedicated fans, the deluxe edition includes three more songs, along with a 30 second intro in the beginning that is supposed to set a “Dante’s ‘Inferno’” tone to start out with. The bonus track titles include “Overtake You,” “Forever,” and “Nothing and Everything.”
The tone of the entire CD is very introspective, which is interesting in some ways. I’m not sure this is the kind of music I want to be devoting myself too, because the world we live in today encourages people to look within ourselves for answers. But the Bible tells us the opposite, revealing that we must die to ourselves, only truly finding who we are in a live wholly given up for Christ. Proverbs 3:5 cautions us to “lean not unto your own understanding,” and acknowledge God in everything. It seems like this album is more about self than God, but internal struggles are a part of life, and this music may give everyone something they can relate too.
Amazing Album| Posted March 17, 2009
Red has gone to a whole new level with this album. It is the most dark stripped down thing they have ever done. The battle between innocence and instinct is an age old battle which red has portrayed beautifully. This cd affected me in the deepest parts of my soul. It is so dark and it deals with things that are dark but shows with God you can overcome these things.
Solid| Posted February 12, 2009
I first listened to Red in 2006 when their first cd came out. Me and my friends all loved Red and their awesome music. Red has capitalized on their first cd and improved to a great sophomore release.
Great Follow Up| Posted February 03, 2009
I had the pleasure of getting an early glipse of the upcoming Red album "Innocence & Instinct" (coming out February 10, 2009). This album is a great floow up to their first album. They cover the Duran Duran song, "Ordinary World" and did a GREAT job! Sometimes when bands cover songs, especially those of secular origin, it doesn't quite turn out right. The album is worth listening to if you loved their first album. Some of the songs sound a little like their first but I think they have matured more int thier writing and have made a staple name for themselves.
Love it.| Posted July 01, 2013
I believe that thsi album is one of RED's top albums the song on this album simply expemlify all of RED's traits. Fight Inside is one of the top songs I have ever heard, Shadows has meaning enough to bring tears to my eyes almost every time, the ordinary world cover is just flawless, and Death of Me is such a great song to just rock out to.
Innocence & Instinct| Posted December 28, 2012
RED's second album and its one of their best. With songs like "Death of Me", and "Fight Inside", RED expresses their deepest feelings of hidden anger. If you don't have this album, you should defenitely get your hands on a copy.