RED adapts to mainstream hard rock
Posted March 21, 2013
Grammy-nominated band RED has always put out quality music with little twists. Their first album End of Silence featured a nice touch of piano along with heavy riffs. Innocence and Instinct went more to strings, which instilled a greater emotional response in their songs. Until We Have Faces was where RED started moving towards the mainstream type of hard rock, which shows in songs such as "Faceless" and "Lie to Me".
Many of the longtime followers and fans of RED will find Release the Panic to be a big change. This album sounds more like the popular hard rock outfits such as Papa Roach, Linkin Park, and Three Days Grace. Lots of technical and electronic effects are intertwined with the intense driving melodies that Mike and the Armstrong brothers put out. It came as a surprise to me when I first heard the songs that RED released to the public on YouTube. I never really got a feel of the music the first time, but after a few times listening I really started enjoying them a lot more.
The intro and title track Release the Panic is a driving, mosh-pit inducing jam. The drum roll leads into a booming bass riff. The lyrics come in, and the verse builds all the way into the chorus, where Mike screams out "Let it out, Let it out, Release the panic, O, Relase the panic". I honestly did not like this song right away, but now it's one of my favorites that they've made in any album. It really displays what RED is really all about.
Perfect Life is where RED starts to lean towards the pop side of rock. This is definitely the most catchy song on the album, with plenty of "yeah yeah" and the driving drum beat that accompanies Mike belting out the chorus, which tells how he doesn't want a "perfect life" full of glamour and sin, because it's just an "empty lie" that won't lead you to the ultimate goal of eternity in heaven with the Lord.
Die for You is my favorite song on this album and my favorite song that RED has ever assembled. This song has a sort of attitude to it that really displays the pride these guys have in serving the Lord. For example, right at the end of the bridge, after a sick guitar solo, Mike sings out "I ain't gonna change!" with a sort of twang that makes you want to laugh at first, but then you come to appreciate it and how it goes so well with the message that they put on display.
Damage is a slower, head-nodding jam. I'm not too fond of it because I've never really come to like a song with an excessive amount of scream in it, especially in the chorus. I understand why it's done though. It shows the anger that comes with the "damage" that sinners do when they become disobedient to God.
Same Disease picks up the pace a little bit and goes back to the pop side again. The drum backbeat keeps the beat going and Mike does a good job of being expressive while still keeping that edgy rock voice. The guitars are heavy, and they also help to keep the beat going along with the drums. Overall, it's a great filler.
Hold Me Now is a very emotional song. It's not slow, but Mike puts so much emotion in this song that it actually brought tears to my eyes (I'm not afraid to admit as a guy). His falsetto is sweet and light in the first chorus, and the second course is more of a cry to the Lord for comfort and protection. "Hold Me Now, 'til the fear is leaving, I am barely breathing. Crying out, these tired wings are falling, I need you to catch me." The lyrics admit that without God, we are weak and without life. With him, we are given new life, and we feel reborn through Christ.
If We Only goes back to the harder side of RED. This song could have easily been on Innocence and Instinct with the strings finally coming into play in the music. The bridge is where the strings are more prevolent. A hard intro leads into Mike speaking of surrender to the Lord and how we need to get over the sin that leaves us empty inside in the end. All in all, another solid filler.
So Far Away is a power ballad that begins with your classic power ballad guitar bringing us into the song. Mike comes in and lays out a well-sung verse that develops into chorus that again admits surrender to God. This song is more of a reflective melody that gets people thinking more about how they are living their lives and where they are with the Lord. Strings stick out much more in this song, adding to the emotion.
Glass House is another power ballad song that has symbolic meaning. Piano is a nice touch to Mike's lyrical singing in the verses. The chorus is powerful, with lots of drums, especially snare, and guitar chords. Glass House tells us of how transparent and fragile the things of this world that we adore are. It continues with the idea of surrender to God and letting him take away the pain in our souls and "make us whole again". Fantastic track.
The Moment We Come Alive ends the album on a very positive note. It has a more cheery feeling, with melodic riffs coming between lyrics. The background piano keeps the song light, while the driving guitar makes it heavy at the same time. My interpretation of this is the joy that comes when believers and followers in Christ unite to celebrate how their Lord has saved them and helped them through their hardest times. According to Mike, "We're a light that will never die" because we are in Christ and have the Holy Spirit leading us to the path of light.
Release the Panic should be and will be appreciated by new and old RED fans for years to come. The style is more electronic and pop based, but if it goes with them into their next album, it's a change for the better. Regardless, RED bleeds a Christian message throughout the record like they have done with the previous three. The main theme behind this album is to "relase the panic" that we have in our lives and getting rid of it in exchange for happiness with Our Savior Jesus Christ. I believe RED tells this message well like they do with every album they have. I pray that these guys continue to create music for our great and mighty God because they bring many to the Lord and do it in an amazing musical way.
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