Red
Until We Have Faces


3.0
good

Review

by J. Ponton EMERITUS
January 21st, 2011 | 245 replies | 38,213 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Much of what you expect but lacking what you loved about it in the first place

Until We Have Faces is that album they, i.e. the industry, wanted Red to make, but we didn’t – more or less safe and marketable, lacking the ‘innocence’, the ‘instinct’, those qualities that made Red an interesting time-tested alternate hard rock band to begin with, being grouped with Breaking Benjamin and Three Days Grace, yet not being of them and their shitty ilk. This year Red find their faces, essentially, and become like the herd on this new album and, well - oh sure, there’s some awesome tracks to be found along the way. But for the most part we have the makings of a band that’s just re-making itself here for another album, like the majority of radio rock bands out there. Yawn.

This is upsetting, because along with the likes of Chevelle, Red are one of the last hopes for mainstream rock. Tool won’t release another album for decades, for instance, but don’t quote me on that, and the very same could be said for A Perfect Circle, too, so, well, um, we rockin’ radio-heads are fucked. Thanks, Red.

All that to say Until We Have Faces actually isn’t a bad album, even though it may appear to fans as so, given the quality of Red’s first two releases. What you have here is a recycling of sorts – bits of this melody here sound like that melody there: first single “Faceless” is close-kin to Innocence and Instinct's “Shadows”, and “Let It Burn” has its own identity as a passionate emotional ballad but steps into End of Silence's “Let Go”-land with its surging yet plagiarized close. Though nothing on Until We Have Faces is a direct copy of 2009's Innocence and Instinct or 2006's End of Silence, per se, given that the band does not stray from the core ingredients of its sound that it’s been using sense its inception – crunchy guitars and strings, mid-tempo drums, etc. – you can’t escape this feeling of deja vu when listening to the album.

True, this feeling would have been expected with any album that Red put out at this point in their career, to some degree. For it could be said that the very reasons that hurt Until We Have Faces are the reasons that we enjoy the band in the first place, especially in the case of lead vocalist Michael Barnes, the perfect cross between Chevelle’s Pete Loeffler and Breaking Benjamin’s Benjamin Burley. Yet the difference here that makes the ingredients to Red’s sound a good thing, fresh and emotional, or a bad thing, generic and tiring, lies strictly in the area of the band’s songwriting and how it uses its sound. On Until We Have Faces, Red are just not up to par with their past work. Sure, “Lie To Me” is essentially Linkin Park when they were kinda-sorta good back in the day – one of those pseudo-epic nu metal intros with an angsty chorus in tow that is bound to stick in your mind for days, and the same can be said for “Watch You Crawl”. But most notably about these tracks, even if they still borrow from Red’s past and like contemporaries, they sound motivated and passionate, not generic and, uh, lazy, like a large percentage of the rest of the album.

Laziness comes in the forms of a few rockers and most of Until We Have Faces’ ballads, which are rather numerous on this album: “Let It Burn”, “Not Alone”, “Best Is Yet To Come”, and “Hymn For The Missing”. Generic sentiments on top of lackluster melodies make for bad combinations here, and given that Red, in general, keep their level of fire and anger low on this album, things tend not to fair that well for the band when it takes a breather, particularly on the second half of the album. “The Outside” is a rocker as repetitive and filler-ish as any Nickelback b-side on this end of the album, too, and “Who We Are” has the ingredients for success with a catchy verse melody, yet for whatever reason falls flat on its face once it hits the chorus sections as well. Fans and those slightly interested best keep their attention on the start of Until We Have Faces because of this, as the Fear Factory-esque “Feed The Machines” and mid-tempo rocker “Buried Beneath” are where Red show the Red who we know and love: melodic but not boring and overly derivative of themselves. Too bad most of the album can’t hold out as strong.

Until We Have Faces is that mid-career mainstream rock album that is bound to keep Red alive financially but will aggravate critics and fans, to an extent. The band is recycling itself, not just the elements of its sound, which is welcome and expected, but in the area of its songwriting. Nearly half or more of Until We Have Faces sounds tired and generic, which is something Red fans are not used to when it comes to the band's albums. And while there are a number of tracks here that are definitely worth checking out and going to concerts for, it really seems like Red have started to reach the limits of their creativity. Still, as mentioned above, this could change, all while keeping the band's core sound intact, by just it striking a wealth of quality songwriting next time around. Red have found their faces; they're one of mainstream rock's best, but let's just hope that they bring more of what we love next time around: orchestrated rock is fine - it's here on Until We Have Faces - but we want quality songs all the way through an album.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Xenophanes
Emeritus
January 21st 2011



10593 Comments


Thanks for telling me I don't need to get this. Band has never impressed me, but I've always had a soft spot for a few of their songs. Great read though.

Ponton
Emeritus
January 21st 2011



5791 Comments


i expected to love this at first, and while a few tracks are great..

yeah its disappointing

Xenophanes
Emeritus
January 21st 2011



10593 Comments


Idk, their debut was neat, and their last album had some excellent songs, but I just don't feel the need to acquire this.

tiesthatbind
January 21st 2011



7373 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Good band but a bit overhyped. I'll definitely give this a go sometime, since they always have some
standout songs. Great review as always, Observer.

Romulus
January 21st 2011



8423 Comments


This is upsetting, because along with the likes of Chevelle, Red are one of the last hopes for mainstream rock. Tool won’t release another album for decades, for instance, but don’t quote me on that, and the very same could be said for A Perfect Circle, too, so, well, um, we rockin’ radio-heads are fucked. Thanks, Red.


hurt!!


tiesthatbind
January 21st 2011



7373 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

As far as that line goes, my username speaks for itself.

Knott-
Emeritus
January 21st 2011



10195 Comments


, too, so, well, um

great read but i would never be interested in this anyway haha

Romulus
January 21st 2011



8423 Comments


whoops i just unsuccessfully tried to pos this

iswimfast
January 21st 2011



1291 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i have yet to find this in good quality. sigh.

edit: FOUND IT.

Digging: Cymbals Eat Guitars - LOSE

Athom
Staff Reviewer
January 21st 2011



17204 Comments


slow down. you're making the rest of us look bad.

cvlts
January 21st 2011



8954 Comments


you have way too much time on your hands

G3N3R1C
January 21st 2011



1945 Comments


OH LOOK THE BANDS NAME IS RED AND THE ALBUM COVER IS THE COLOR RED

HAHA

SO CLEVER

Mordecai.
January 21st 2011



8277 Comments


this band is uber gay

NailScarredHands
January 21st 2011



46 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Meh, this is what I expected.

I enjoyed I&I more.

Eko
January 21st 2011



2119 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

feed the machine was great, guess this wont live up. will probably still check this out. the band has been going on this hilarious crusade against people downloading the album illegally. this could have been so awesome though...

great review

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
January 21st 2011



23807 Comments


I won't be checking this out. solid review

AnotherBrick
January 21st 2011



9770 Comments


oh cool, didnt know they put out a new one

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
January 21st 2011



15019 Comments


this band is terrible

DinoX
January 21st 2011



3582 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

Couldn't agree more with your review. This album is a piece of shit in comparison to the Red's other albums.

iswimfast
January 21st 2011



1291 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Oh, and what Romulus said. Hurt still has a chance to save us.



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