RED [Release The Panic]
Posted February 04, 2013
By kevindavis, Staff Reviewer
RED is comprised of Michael Barnes (vocals), Anthony Armstrong (guitar) Randy Armstrong (bass) and Joe Rickard (drums). Together, their three prior albums End of Silence (2006), Innocence & Instinct (2009) and Until We Have Faces (2011), have sold nearly 1 million units. Release The Panic will be available in both Deluxe and Standard editions on February 5. The Deluxe edition includes five additional songs; two brand new and three remixes of “Death of Me,” “Hymn for the Missing” and “Breathe Into Me.” 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 all three albums. “Breathe Into Me,” “Let Go,” “Fight Inside,” “Death Of Me” and “Feed The Machine” are such intense rock songs, I didn’t think RED could possibly have another level, however the opening guitar hook and Michael’s screams in “Release The Panic” proved me wrong. It is one of the heaviest songs I’ve ever heard, and Michael growls “let it out, let it out, release the panic…get it out, get it out, get it out! release the panic!” with such intensity, I’m mesmerized by the power of the song and the head banging is infectious.
As hard as “Release The Panic” starts, just like their last album many of the songs also include a soft choral and orchestral arrangement that just calms you. This excellent rock album totally brings the perfect package of heavy rock guitars and the emotive vocal punch and gorgeous strings found in the three previous RED albums. Teaming with legendary producer Howard Benson, Red has uncovered a potent set of standout songs including “Perfect Life,” “Die For You,” “Same Disease” and the title track. The band refused to stray away from its pull-no-punches brand of storytelling, with emotive lyrics dealing with mortality, abandonment, paths to redemption and the demands of a pop culture-obsessed society, as found on the initial single, “Perfect Life.” The lead single is a great example of the more pop-flavored rock sound as heard in their cover of Duran Duran’s “Ordinary World.” “Die For You” is a guaranteed hit song in any format, and is my new favorite rock anthem by this now legendary rock band. The idea of creative destruction unveiled in the midst of new life is found in the lyrics: “Someone please tell me what I’m supposed to do ‘cause you hate me, but I love you! / I can feel your madness now, I can feel your fire now, it’s what I burn for, it’s what I ache for, it’s what I bleed for, I would die for you.”
“Damage” and “Same Disease” keep the rock flow going and the theme of this album is very cohesive as the songs all point to the concept of finding our true identity. The message of the song "Same Disease" perfectly embodies the duality of human beings where we are attracted to what destroys us. Michael brilliantly sings the lyrics “I am immune to you, you are immune to me, we are both sick souls with the same disease, it’s infecting me, it’s infecting you.” What’s cool about most of the songs are that although they may not be blatant Christian messages, you can interpret the songs from your own perspective. Even for believers, we ask God to show Himself to us, and reveal His ways. When I’m watching what’s going on around me, I sometimes get caught up in all the hype of the world, or get obsessed or depressed about worldly values. God has promised us that there is a place without all this craziness we see around us, “living in a desperate time” and that’s Heaven with “a light that will never die” where “He’ll make us whole again.”
RED’s fourth project Release The Panic, has knocked it out of the park with their best overall album. I’m truly a fan of this band and I can’t get enough of their emotive hard rock. Even if you don’t normally listen to hard rock albums, the artistic nature of these songs draws you in and elicits an emotional response. The messages throughout many of the songs are 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. The stand-out songs are “Perfect Life,” “Die For You,” “Same Disease,” “Hold Me Now,” “So Far Away,” “Glass House” and “The Moment We Come Alive.” This album firmly establishes RED as the premier hard rock band in all of Christian music.
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