Since 2006, Tennessee Christian rockers, Red, have been running rampant through the alternative metal/hard rock scene. Red had a successful debut with “End of Silence,” and followed with the cinematic, Grammy-nominated, “Innocence & Instinct.”
With their latest album, “Release the Panic,” Red attempts to catapult themselves into the mainstream hard rock scene with shorter, catchier songs that may catch listeners off guard in more ways than one.
For this album, the band decided to incorporate a few changes. One of the most obvious is the change in production from Rob Graves, who produced all three of their previous albums, to Grammy-nominated producer Howard Benson.
While this duo seems to work well some of the time, it does not hold up quite as well to some of the material that was produced by Graves.
Sure, songs like the album’s title track and the track “If We Only” really can remind those longtime fans of the days gone by, but this truly feels like a step in a new direction for Red.
The best example of this is the current single “Perfect Life,” which is just a straight up, hard rock song with a catchy chorus. It’s not a bad song by any means, but it is certainly much different than anything this band has produced before.
Another difference comes in the push towards more industrial rock elements being incorporated into the band’s sound. Every song on the album has this aspect in some regard, whether it comes in an introduction or middle part of the song. It’s nice to see the band continue in that direction as opposed to just dropping it after the album “Until We Have Faces.”
With that being said, as a longtime fan of this band, I miss hearing the strings of a full symphony behind the low-tuned heavy guitars and fantastic vocal melodies that this band is truly capable of.
Thankfully, the strings make triumphant returns in songs such as “If We Only” and “Glass House,” which are among the best tracks of the album. Heavier songs such as “Damage” and the self-reflecting ballad “Hold Me Now” add to the variety that this album has to offer.
However, I do find a complaint that the standard edition of the album is only 34 minutes long. It can be a relatively quick listen, but there is a deluxe edition available that features five bonus tracks (two B-sides and three remixes of previous Red songs).
The deluxe edition adds up to be just around an hour long, so it is safe to say that you will get your money’s worth by paying a couple of extra dollars for it.
Red is one of those bands that I feel has deserved much more exposure and popularity for many years This album could possibly represent this band finally finding that exposure and popularity that many feel like they have deserved throughout their career.
While “Release the Panic” certainly has its share of gems, the album as a whole just does not hold up as well as the band’s previous work. It is not a bad album by any means, but it is definitely a different take on this band and a take that I feel like will finally give them the credit they so rightfully deserve.
Album: Release the Panic
Release Date: Feb. 5, 2013