Two grammy nominations, millions of dedicated fans, and five full-length albums later, Rock trio Red are back; set to release their new album, Of Beauty and Rage, on February 24th. As their first album in two years, it shows off the growth and maturity of the band, and brings back the familiar sounds of their first two albums. Of Beauty and Rage sets the standard for the musical capabilities of the group, and should be seen as a triumph and the crowd jewel of Red’s discography.
The album opens with “Descent”, a beautifully constructed minute and thirty-second long instrumental piece which features a large string section and background piano. The masterful dynamics of the piece set you up for what comes next as it flows into “Imposter”, a powerful, energy-filled rock song, which shifts you from the soothing instrumentals of the opening track. The song picks up it’s pace as it progresses; and with it’s use of heavy guitar riffs, piano, and strings, it shows upfront the complexity and instrumental capabilities of the group. The song shows how they balance their heavy and softer instruments, and how they range their vocals from the use of clean vocals to heavier screaming vocals.
The album then leads into “Shadow and Soul”, which kicks off with a heavy guitar riff and bass instrumentation. The movement of the song makes this one of the best tracks off the album, with it’s changing from softer vocals accompanied by piano or strings, to heavier vocals with the use of background violin and heavy guitar instrumentations. Halfway through the track, it shifts to slower-paced vocals with background piano and strings, which then builds back up into heavy sounding instrumentations and vocals. The song then closes with the use of softer and slow vocals, strings, and piano, making a perfect ending to the track. The musical progression shows off the difficulty and complexity of the song, and their dynamic and blending abilities of their instruments. The lyrics and melody of the track leave you feeling uplifted, making it one of the most well-done tracks on the album.
The album then flows into the heavier, slow-paced at first track, “Darkest Part”. The song delivers more of a heavy sound as the song progresses, but incorporates a harp throughout parts of the song, again showing off the balance of their instrumentations. The song builds up as you reach the chorus where you feel the pain behind the words vocalist Michael Barnes. Three minutes into the piece, the song shifts it’s sound; adding something intriguing to the track and leading it to stand out among others on the record. The album then goes into “Fight to Forget”, another fast-paced heavy metal delight. A highlight off the album, the song uses the background strings to add an eerie feel to the song, and has one of the best uses of movement. The song continuously moves from heavier sounds to softer sounds, the vocals balancing out with the instruments in the background. The next track, “Of These Chains”, sets a different mood being the only softer song off the album. The piano and string melody introduce a calmer feel to the track, and shows off very well-balanced vocal harmonies as it leads itself into the songs chorus. It uses dynamics to build suspense. The perfect track when you’re in the mood for something instrumentally challenging, but with a softer sweeter tone. It then shifts back to the classic heavy Red sound, opening the track with a distorted effect on the strings, but leads into showing off their complex instrumental and vocal layering. The instruments and vocals shift halfway through into being almost muffled, keeping you interested. The last minute of the track using again the distorted string sound add a nice element to differentiate the song from others, and the piano ending leads into “The Forest”; a minute long instrumental using a string section and piano melody. It then goes into track, “Yours Again” which is well-done, but doesn’t shine as much as the rest of the album, and “ What You Keep Alive”, the heaviest track off the album. The dark string section to introduce the song let you know what you’re in for, especially listening to the lyrics of the track. The guitar, bass, drums, and string instrumentation are the best part of the song.
The record then goes into heavier tracks, “Gravity Lies” and “Take Me Over”. Two of the best tracks on the record, they both show off the classic red musical capabilities, but with something different, making them special compared to other tracks. Both tracks give off an uplifting feeling, and show their fantastic musical transitions, movement, blend, dynamics, musical composition, lyrics, and everything inbetween. The overlapping vocal harmonies, and uniquely complicated but feeling of amazement from “Take Me Over” are what gives it it’s spot in the recommended tracks to download.
The album then goes into “The Ever”, starting the song with a catchy piano melody and the overlapping harmony and vocals of Barnes to capture your attention. The lyrics are very inspiring, making them relatable to each listener. The song uses so much power and emotion it’s hard to almost be brought to tears with the beauty and delivery of the piece. The album moves into a different sounding, “Part That’s Holding On”. A crown jewel and perfect close to the record, Red give the track everything they have. It is masterfully crafted, and will not leave you disappointed. The album then concludes with “Ascent”, a four-minute long instrumental similar to the opening instrumental track “Descent”, but is very well-balanced and uses the string melody to perfectly bring the album to a close.
It has been years since an album has been released with this much complexity, has been this well-executed, and felt like a completed work. With Of Beauty and Rage, Red have brought back the similar style from their earlier releases End of Silence and Innocence & Instinct. This record will go down in history as the highlight of Red’s discography.
Download: “Part That’s Holding On”, “Take Me Over”, and “The Ever”
Rated 4.5 out of 5 Stars