Red
Innocence and Instinct


4.0
excellent

Review

by Trey Spencer STAFF
February 5th, 2009 | 438 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: No sophomore slump here as the band begin to find their own sound.

Despite the fact that Red is often labeled ‘mainstream rock’ they aren’t actually very mainstream as far as sales or popularity goes. Too many people have been quick to write them off for their minor nu-metal influence and their major Linkin Park worship for them to really be widely accepted. What those people who ignored this band have missed, however, is a beautifully crafted debut album that made up with emotion what it lacked in originality. Based on their debut, when the band began work on a second album a lot of people were quick to assume that they’d continue to follow Linkin Park by diving straight in to Nu-AOR hell, but it never happened.

It might come as a surprise that Red’s reliance on Linkin Park for inspiration has finally dissipated, but it really has and their sound has become more original for it. The heavier riffs are fat, lively and aggressive to the point that a few times I had to make sure I was still listening to the same band. The riffs aren’t the only facet of the band’s sound to gain a healthy dose of anger, though; so have the vocals. Even though there were screams on the debut, I always equated them more to a stomping tantrum than actual aggression but that has changed. The vocalist’s screams are now much more forceful, adding a level of actual hostility that was lacking from the debut. Despite all the talk about the band’s new ability to convey heaviness and hostility they are still very adept at the mellower stuff as well.

Much like the heavier sections, the mellower parts have become more focused and effective than anything on the previous album. While never dropping into ballad territory (except for “Take it all Away”), the band does make frequent and effective use of quieter sections where the orchestration takes more of a lead role and Michael Barnes’ vocals expose a vulnerable quality. The great thing is that no matter the mood or tempo, the emotion still comes across with the ease one would expect from this band. All of this is made possible and more apparent due to an increased emphasis on actual songwriting instead of simply making the choruses the only part of a song to get any attention.

To put it simply, Red has stopped focusing so much on big choruses and more on the song as a total package. While this might make each track a little less instant it also makes them more rewarding with more replay value in the long-run. Obviously, the choruses are still there and they’re still catchy, it’s just that they’re now held within the context of fully developed songs where every note counts and contributes. This increased emphasis on actual songs has also expanded itself to the orchestral parts that were so prominent on the debut.

On the debut, the orchestral parts sometimes seemed like an afterthought, as if they were simply placed over the top of songs that were already complete. This time they’re not only fully integrated in to the songs, but their level of development and variation means that they don’t make the songs sound overly similar as they were prone to doing previously. When all of these elements are taken together; the heavy sections, the effective mellow sections, the improved vocals and orchestration and the superior song writing, it leads to an album that is completely enjoyable for any fan of the band as well as anyone disillusioned with the direction of a lot of the bands that are played on the radio.

At a time when mainstream rock and metal acts continue to lose their edge and pander more and more to the largest audience possible (Linkin Park, Staind), it was definitely a surprise that Red would progress in the direction that they did. While they can still wear the moniker of ‘mainstream rock’ they’re verging dangerously close to taking on a new, less consumer friendly label. The vitriol in the riffs and the darkness of the songs (despite their ‘silver lining’ lyrics) are going to scare off a lot of the people that loved their first album, but for those of us that are left we are treated to one of the best mainstream rock/metal albums to come out in awhile.



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user ratings (445)
Chart.
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other reviews of this album
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Red take the best parts of their first release and Start Again....

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With Innocence and Instinct, Red have crafted the most important Christian, maybe even secular, albu...

J. Ponton EMERITUS (4.5)
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Though it will not sway its detractors, Innocence and Instinct evolves Red into a solid rock band....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
February 5th 2009


16149 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This review was done differently because we were sent an advanced stream. So over the course of a couple weeks I would listen to this and actually take notes since I just couldn't skip back and forth within songs easily. I think because of that this review came out a little divided where everything has its own section.

Digging: Mors Principium Est - Dawn Of The 5th Era

gaslightanthem
February 5th 2009


5209 Comments


good review but i dont think this seems much my thing, will probably look into it regardless

IAmInsect
February 5th 2009


3799 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

good review but this band is pretty averageThis Message Edited On 02.05.09

Willie
Moderator
February 5th 2009


16149 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks. I knew I'd probably have quite a bit of disagreement with my rating. They might just be another mainstream-rock band, but there's something there that makes them a really good mainstream rock band.

CokeZero
February 5th 2009


39 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I love this.

"Mystery of You" and "Shadows" are amazing songs.
Has anyone heard the deluxe edition bonus tracks?This Message Edited On 02.05.09

peartnoy
February 5th 2009


1228 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

From what I have heard, it doesn't seem as good as End of Silence but still solid overall. Great review, just add some more individual song descriptions maybe.

ninjuice
February 5th 2009


6760 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Easily better than End of Silence, but not so much has changed besides Barnes' voice and better use of strings. The songs are tighter and 40 minutes is the ideal length for a band/album like this, but still not very high quality. I do think this will take a lot longer to get old for me though.
oh, and good review and all that.

PayneTiger777
February 5th 2009


4409 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I like this a lot. Their cover of "Ordinary World" and the closing track are really great. These guys are better than your typical mainstream rock bands.

roofi
February 5th 2009


959 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

i didn't really like end of silence but i guess i'll check this out

meh, still boring.This Message Edited On 02.05.09

Pigmi
February 5th 2009


50 Comments


Enjoying the album so far, better than their debut. Does anybody else think that towards the end of "Take It All Away" the band sound a lot like Muse?

AlexTM510
February 5th 2009


1408 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Don't think it's a 4...its like a 3-3.5 for me but I think they are on the verge of coming into their own. You bring up a lot of points i haven't thought about, especially with how the strings function more with bands sound rather than sounding like extra gush like on their last album. There are moments on this album that just absolutely slay. The last 30 seconds of "Mystery Of You" pretty much soars with those incredible harmonies. And Out From Under has a really nice heavy kick. Note that the cover sounds good too.

Good review again, don't think it's as good as you say but yea I'm excited to see guys break into their own soon.

ninjuice
February 5th 2009


6760 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

The ending of Out From Under more or less ruins the song. It just comes out of nowhere - in a pretty bad way.

AlexTM510
February 5th 2009


1408 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

^

lol really I think the ending is the best part, and the out of nowhere makes it all the more better

ninjuice
February 5th 2009


6760 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

To me it feels like it was kinda just thrown on at the end, and doesn't transition well at all. Kinda hard to explain.

Merkaba33
February 5th 2009


702 Comments


my brother listens to these guys. maybe i'll look into em.

Willie
Moderator
February 5th 2009


16149 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Has anyone heard the deluxe edition bonus tracks?
No, but based off of the first ten I'm definitely buying the deluxe edition. I'll add to the review when I get it.
You bring up a lot of points i haven't thought about, especially with how the strings function more with bands sound rather than sounding like extra gush like on their last album. There are moments on this album that just absolutely slay. The last 30 seconds of "Mystery Of You" pretty much soars with those incredible harmonies.
Yeah, they definitely sound more integrated this time. I think on the debut the songs were probably mostly written (if not fully) and their producer tried to give them a unique element but had to just layer it over. I also agree about the end of "Mystery of You". I think the lack of a 100% smooth transition makes it that much more of a strong impact.
So the general consensus is that I overrated this. That's cool, I stand by this rating and now it leaves it open for someone to write an opposing review... Ninjuice ;)

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
February 5th 2009


20858 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Wow, I’ve never heard of these guys, yet this sounds right up my alley. Great review Trey & it looks like another band added to my list courtesy of your good self.
I know you have dropped a few band names in the review, but are there any others these guys are comparable with? Say someone like TrustCompany and/or Story Of The Year. Or maybe Papa Roach or Saliva at their heaviest…

Asiatic667
February 5th 2009


4648 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

This would probably be my kind of thing

Willie
Moderator
February 5th 2009


16149 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, I think this is something that both of you could get into. There's a stream of the full album that I'll leave the link for.
http://www.imeem.com/red

I know you have dropped a few band names in the review, but are there any others these guys are comparable with? Say someone like TrustCompany and/or Story Of The Year. Or maybe Papa Roach or Saliva at their heaviest…
I'm not familiar with Trust Co. and they're nothing like Story of the Year (there's no punk influence). Papa Roach have changed their sound so many times that I could just say "yes" and probably be right ;) Maybe like Saliva, but again, not too familiar with them beyond their radio songs. Just check the stream and let me know what you think.This Message Edited On 02.05.09

MisterBeefy
February 6th 2009


244 Comments


I was literally pumped to listen to this after reading your excellent review Willy. A decent album. but I was expecting more.



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