Review: RED – ‘Declaration’

REDRED is Michael Barnes (vocals), twin brothers Anthony Armstrong (guitar) and Randy Armstrong (bass), and Dan Johnson (drums). The oracle of all things true (Wikipedia) classes them as “American Christian Rock”, but that needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. Listen to ‘Declaration’, album number seven from the Grammy nominated act, and you are more likely to pick up a Nu-Metal/Alternative/Modern Metalcore buzz than one which the words “Christian Rock” throws out.

‘Declaration’ is loud, bombastic, and features more layers than a Scotsman in the month of June. It’s also the first release since splitting from Essential Records/Sony (meh, their loss), a split that seems to have given the band from Nashville a shot of adrenaline, as they have produced arguably the best album of their career to date.

The classical/orchestral elements from previous albums are still all present and correct, as is the use of electronica, but fear not, this is not some cynical attempt to find a larger audience (Daughtry-does-Imagine Dragons anyone?…No?). This is using electronica to the album’s advantage, as best exemplified by tracks such as opener ‘All For You’ and the immediate follower; the slamming, crushing ‘Infidel’. ‘Only Fight’ is an industrial-filled monster of Godzilla-sized proportions to scare the pants off any fans of that generic, watered down sound that seems to be most prevalent in modern American rock music today. ‘From The Ashes’ might have some 30 Seconds To Mars touches (especially in the clean vocals), but peel back the layers, and there are also epic arrangements, buzzsaw riffs and metalcore screams; everything, in fact, that was missing from Jared Leto’s last feeble attempt at an album.

Need some Tremonti sized riffs mixed with Linkin Park-esque angst? Then ‘Cauterize’ is for you. Throw in some Middle Eastern atmospheric string arrangements, and the end result is quite staggering. As is the post-grunge overtones of ‘The War We Made’, where again, it’s hard not to miss a Linkin Park influence. Complete with a gorgeous, fat guitar tone, ‘The Evening Hate’ provides the knockout punch after ‘The War We Made’ has you on the ropes. Then ‘Float’ gives you a kick for good measure while you are on the canvas.

‘Declaration’ is out now – let the face melting commence.

Connect with RED here.

Review – Dave

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