Posted May 12, 2014
By MaryNikkel_NRT, Staff Reviewer
When heavyweight hard rockers RED released their fourth full length studio album, Release the Panic, fans immediately were aware of a massive sonic shift which left behind the signature symphonic rock sound integral to the band's previous albums. Although the move into new territory proved the band's courage and ability to thrive beyond the style they'd initially developed, it left some fans missing the previous style. Release the Panic: Recalibrated answers those concerns with a unique remix album that focuses on recasting some of the album's highlights in a more string-centered mold.
In many cases, the arrangements created are strikingly different, such as title track "Release the Panic," which leans more on frenetic violins to create the swell of panicked energy rather than the heavy crunch of electric guitar that carried the original. "Damage" and "Glass House" are heavy tracks re-interpreted similarly, building an entirely different sonic landscape to create a similar emotional pull. The originally softer tracks "Hold Me Now" and "So Far Away" mesh best melodically with the strong string presence, given that they were initially structured in a less heavy direction.
In addition to the re-imagined pieces, RED offers up new track "Run and Escape," a beautifully eerie rocker that should assure any doubters that this is still the band we grew to love on previous classics "Breathe Into Me," "Death of Me" and "Feed the Machine." Though strings are present here, so are the crushing force of Anthony Armstrong's guitar riffs and the tortured-soul vocals offered by Michael Barnes.
Although I find myself questioning the move of reinterpreting an innovative album in a safer direction, the result is undeniably incredibly solid. Though there are moments when the songs feel like they've been oversaturated with strings, this is mostly justified simply because remix albums need to be different enough to justify fans buying re-worked versions of material they likely already purchased a year ago. Overall the treatment suits the songs well, and is undeniable proof that RED has truly mastered the symphonic rock sound they once pioneered (a sound countless other bands have attempted to emulate much less effectively in the past decade).
Song to Download Now:
"Run and Escape" (Get it on iTunes here.)
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