Review Summary: Nothing says love like epic, snarling angst
Six years later, Red fans are still going to be waiting for Breaking Benjamin with strings, aka Red themselves, to make an Innocence and Instinct Pt. 2
A mouthful, but that about sums it up for Red in 2015 with this, a colossal return to form by the name Of Beauty and Rage
. Return to form? But wait, you just said it's not Instincts Pt. 2
? Well, it's not. Rage
is still a quality return, as long as you define that return as being a justified backpedal to massive distorted guitars, longer song structures (5 to 6 minutes, sometimes), and, and
, epic string arrangements.
Now on the other hand, Red's songwriting and melodies – lets not even mention the (still) Linkin Park-quality-level lyrics – leave something to be desired on Rage
. Listeners will have to spin the rather lengthy 60-minute album a number of times before any choruses begin to really stick. But don't let that deter you: as stated, in many ways this is Red getting back on track, which comes as a surprise given the band's more recent releases.
Because 2013's Release the Panic
sucked and 2011's Until We Have Faces
before it felt a little washed out, many a fan were left in dissolution with the work of the Nashville alternative metal/rock band. So when you cue first proper song “Imposter” up on this bad boy, and singer Michael Barnes comes in after a brooding (yes string-y) build up into a chorus that has him return to his snarling, intense performance of Instinct
's “Out From Under”, well, shi
t gets intense, to say the least.
It's size, intensity, and epic-ness make Rage
the closest Red have come to sounding like their 2006 equally-intense, epic debut, End of Silence
. Miss the serene build up of “Lost?” There's “Yours Again”. How about the devilishly vigilant climax of “Let Go”? “Shadow and Soul” has you covered, coming in at just under six minutes in length even. Now, let's see if there is something as catchy as the band's hits “Breathe Into Me” or “Shadows” from Instinct
- tough luck, it's not here, but hey, at least the band is trying.
Trying is a good verb to describe what Red are doing this year. Rage
's density is certainly due to (1) the return of the band's original producer, Rob Graves, but (2) also due to the fact the band really took time to write these songs: you can hear it, as a direct contrast to the lazy boring-ness of Panic
. There's also something to be said about the band's more careful creative process this time around when the second half of the album is better than the first, which these days is rare for alternative metal bands (or any kind of band in general). 30 minutes in and the band are still giving you songs that sound bigger and bigger.
So all that is to say Red is back being Breaking Benjamin with strings, which is what the fans want them to be as they rock at it. Nine years later melodramatic string build ups and crushing guitars still haven't gotten old, which is impressive on record as Barnes is still belting about “hating your love is a lie” or some shi
t. That's not a complaint though; the lyrical-musical combo works well for them. All they need to do is write some better melodies next time and give us that Instincts Pt.2
Welcome back, Red.