By Brianne Simone || Contributing Writer
Regardless of whether or not Red’s fifth album is worth listening to, the effectiveness of their marketing is undeniable. The cover artwork features the striking image of a cloaked figure in a plague mask walking through a forest filled with crimson leaves, an image sure to draw the eye of even the least curious customer, their Facebook has been updating on a daily basis with snippets and sound bytes from their new album, and a quick search on Youtube revealed short music videos for their songs before the album had even been officially released.
For fans of the bands first few albums, there’s a lot to like about Of Beauty and Rage. The songs and vocals sound very similar to past albums, Innocence and Instinct and Break The Silence. What’s strange is this new album was funded by a PledgeMusic Campaign. This means they could have strayed from the norm with this album if they wanted to, experimented, tried a new sound. Instead, fans have gotten much of the same. Even the theme of identity loss found in the song “Imposter” and the theme of hope found in “Part That’s Holding On” have already been thoroughly explored in previous albums. With that said, Red is a Christian rock band at its core, and the focus on those two concepts throughout their music is the perfect evidence of that. The likelihood of Red ever excising those themes completely from their music is almost non-existent.
The album itself is structured around those themes. It starts from “Descent,” a melancholy instrumental piece, then ends with the track “Ascent.” In correspondence with that structure, the songs become more and more hopeful as they move from the first track to the last. Ultimately, Red’s message is meant to be one of hope, of moving from the dark to the light. In my opinion, that’s where Red’s new album works. The hard guitar and occasional screaming of the first five tracks is outshone by the soft, slow lamentation found in “Of These Chains” and the uplifting tone in “Part That’s Holding On.” Without the album’s angst driven beginning, however, I doubt the last few songs could have made such a positive impact.
People who’ve been fans of Red since they came out with their first album in 2004 will likely enjoy Of Beauty and Rage if they want more of the same. I had hoped for something a little different and was disappointed when I noticed the lack of variety. However, the structure of the album shows that thought was put into it and some of the songs are pleasant to listen to. Unfortunately, pleasant isn’t good enough, anymore. None of the tracks struck me as particularly memorable and when most of today’s music is created to be so catchy you could sing it in your sleep, Of Beauty and Rage just doesn’t compare.
Senior Brianne Simone is a contributing writer. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.