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Red Makes An Intense Declaration
Posted April 01, 2020
By JJFrancesco_NRT, Staff Reviewer

What You Need To Know
Red burst onto the Christian rock scene in 2006 with End of Silence. With several No. 1 hits from that album alone, Red became an instant icon. 2017’s Gone was a polarizing release for fans, especially because it was to be their last album as a signed band. But as one season closes, another opens. 2019 found Red beginning their chapter as an independent band, releasing The Evening Hate EP. 2020 sees those new songs come to a culmination with their new full length album, Declaration.

What It Sounds Like
Red has always been defined by the juxtaposition of their two extremes: intense, scream-driven hard rock, and melodic and emotional numbers often driven by piano and orchestral backing. These styles would often duel within the same tracks, making for songs that could run the gamut of emotions. Some songs totally embraced one side or the other, making for some true headbangers and others accessible radio hits.

Freed from the influence of a label with demands for commercial viability, Red seems to have leaned all in on the edgier side of their sounds. For sure, the emotional orchestral elements still drive many a chorus on the album. But for the first time ever, Red have dropped an album completely devoid of a ballad. Every song throws in the band’s mix of screams and croons, with vocalist Mike Barnes flawlessly transitioning moment to moment. “The War We Made” serves as the most radio-ready of the bunch, sounding the most like a cut from one of Red’s previous entries. “Sever” also stands as a highlight with a passionate chorus that calls to mind several of the band’s classics. “The Evening Hate” and “From The Ashes” also return from their EP last year and mark noteworthy entries in this era for the band.

Fans of the band’s harder side disillusioned by their swings for accessibility over the years should come away pleased. Others may feel that the needle has swung a bit too far to the chaos side of things, at the expense of the band’s memorable melodies that have made even scream-filled past hits like their signature “Breathe Into Me” iconic.

Whatever one’s preferences for Red, the band seems to have made exactly the album they wanted to make with Declaration, freed from the expectations of anyone except their own and their fans’. The elements that made them a household name in Christian rock are all in place, and if you’ve enjoyed any of their past albums, you’d do well to give their latest a spin.

Spiritual Highlights
Red has always had their finger on the pulse of the internal struggles of their audience. The war with our sinful natures seems to be a constant theme of their music and this album is no different. These ten songs all speaks to our struggles with the darkness, and our fight to overcome them. Whether it’s acknowledging our role in our sins or choosing to sever our ties with them, these songs meet the listener where they are at in the darkness, but ultimately point to the way out “from the ashes.

Best Song
“The War We Made”

For Fans Of
Breaking Benjamin, Fight the Fury

Bottom Line
Red has come back unrestrained, touting perhaps their most aggressive blend of chaos and calm yet, with an album sure to win the attention of rock fans.

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