Review Summary: Hollow and faceless9 of 17 thought this review was well written
Every band seems to eventually hit a point where an album is just met by absolute hatred by their fanbase, and in Red’s case, it was their most recent album, Release the Panic
that was ultimately damned by their fans. It was met by angry fans from the release of the lead single "Perfect Life" all the way to today. Ultimately, there are two big reasons as to why exactly people seemed to hate it. The first reason is rather understandable: the producer of the album was Howard Benson. Known for producing albums from infamous bands such as Daughtry, Theory of a Deadman, and most recently, Skillet’s latest album Rise
all of which has received negative reception from many audiences and even some professional critics, Benson is probably one of the most unpopular producers to date. To give the fans credit, the production on Release the Panic
was rather bland, as a few of the tracks didn’t have the impact that many other previous Red songs seemed to have. However, the second reason as to why the album got a lot of anger is what I find to be one of the dumbest and most ridiculous reasons to hate an album, particularly a Red album: the apparent loss of the strings.
That being said, everyone seems to point the finger at Howard Benson as to the loss of Red’s strings. However, there are three questions that most likely challenge this theory. First, why did Red even hire Benson in the first place? Sure they may not have known about some of the albums that he produced, such as Theory of a Deadman's The Truth Is...
and Creed's Full Circle
, but it doesn’t make the excuse as to why Benson would ultimately choose this idea. He may have suggested it at some point, but he didn’t necessarily force them to do so. Second, why did Benson return for Recalibrated
in the first place? Obviously the band wouldn’t have hired him again for the re-release if he was the main problem in the original. And third, why exactly did Red even want to re-release the album, or at least some of the songs off of the original? If the fans really did like the original record in the first place then Red wouldn’t have made the decision to re-release it. Ultimately, these questions seem to point more towards the theory that Red made the suggestion themselves about how the original was going to sound like. Whether or not the real reason can be explained we may never know.
As for Recalibrated
itself, it’s a complete step in the wrong direction for Red. It’s nothing more than an apology letter from the band to their fanbase that says, “Sorry for pissing you all off so badly. We hope that this will help ‘stitch up the wounds’ that we have made.” It’s not going to work. Not only has Benson returned for this record, but original producer Robert Graves also makes an appearance as well. Of course many fans would probably be excited for his return only to be oblivious to the fact that Graves is almost just as bad as Benson. Sure he did fine in Innocence & Instinct
, but his production for Red’s other two albums were rather atrocious, as both contained overproduced orchestral elements and were rather unoriginal in their sound.
Throughout this particular release, the Benson-Graves production team ultimately ruins what Red hoped to accomplish in the original album, which was to create an album that would break their comfort zone and yet remain enjoyable at the same time. A perfect example of this is the new track “Run and Escape”, a previously unreleased demo from the original album. Thus some people may say, “Well it’s only the demo version, right?” This is false, as every song on here is completely re-recorded. If anything, it’s one of the most generic pieces that Red has ever done. The vocals are out of place throughout, the quality is terrible, and the guitar work is nothing more than a typical rock melody and clichéd strumming.
The orchestral elements were ultimately the one thing that everyone was eager for due to the obvious reasons as stated before. However, the string arraignments here work against Red as they serve more as a distraction rather than structure. They are so poorly placed that either two things happen. One is that they constantly diverge from the song’s melody like in the remix for “Release the Panic.” Two is that they try too hard to follow the melody, such as in the remix for “Damage” which results in them being barely audible. Not only that, but many of the important factors in the original songs seem to have taken a back seat for the strings. The vocal quality loses its strength throughout and the guitar work is buried deeply within the strings.
Thus, to sum it all up, Release the Panic: Recalibrated
truly is, if anything, the
worst release that Red has ever come out with. Again, the original wasn’t the best album that the band has come out with. It was just a rather unappreciated album. It was completely unnecessary for Red to try to gain back their fans by just re-releasing a few tracks from the original album by putting something that fans were “deprived of” and overloading that missing element. It’s the last thing they should have done. Sure they may gain back a few fans, but that’s only because people will be too busy listening for the strings rather than focusing on the overall quality of the album.
By all means, go ahead and appreciate this as much as you want, but keep in mind of what really matters in Red’s music. The fans simply whined and complained about the original record, and this is what we got in response to that. It’s unnecessary, dull, and it ultimately butchered Red’s chances of further expanding their music. Hopefully, the next album that Red does will have both sides of the argument shut up and enjoy the music for what it is, not for what their fans want.