LABEL: SONY/ESSENTIAL RECORDS
RELEASE DATE: FEBRUARY 1, 2011
ntil We Have Faces
ntil We Have Facesis the third studio album from Christian rock heavy hitters Red. Red’s previous two albums, End of Silence (2006) and Innocence & Instinct (2009) have both been nominated for the Best Rock Gospel Grammy which means this album comes with it a lot of expectations. This album is definitely of the same exceptional quality of Red’s previous two releases, offering listeners great lyrics, and insanely addictive music that is hard not to love.
The album isn’t perfect but few albums are ever perfect in the end. All the flaws are easily forgettable but one of the things that struck out are many of the introductions do not match the actual song content. The song “Lie To Me (Denial)” opens like a Rap song but the rest of the song doesn’t match up. The other flaw that stands out, and this is the flaw with most Christian Metal is the transitions between songs can be rough, some songs end on a slow note only for the next song to open up loud and up tempo but again this is a minor easily forgivable flaw.
“Watch You Crawl” opens up for a split second like a club song but quickly transitions into lyrically one of the mellower tracks in the album. It has a message that is all too familiar for Christian metal but the song does not feel clichéd and the music will make even the most stoic head nod. It is a powerful track that is hard not to want to listen to as loud as humanly possible.
“Let It Burn” is a relatively clichéd title for what is one of the most beautiful and approachable tracks on the album. This track is destined to be a part of numerous Christian music compilations in the next few months and that is in spite of the somewhat unoriginal chorus. This track is definitely a case of one line not ruining a song but a strong track that makes a single line clichéd line forgivable.
“Hymn For The Missing” is another song that opens slower and lighter than the rest of the album but it is also one of the more lyrically powerful track. Much like the track “Let It Burn” it feels like a track that is destined to make waves in the Christian music circles and find its way to compilations. It is a track that never really becomes full on metal but it is easy to forget about it as the lyrics are so engrossing and the song so simply produced compared to the rest of the album it is irresistible.
Until We Have Faces is unsurprisingly a great album from an oddly underrated band outside of Christian circles. The only real question for Red and this album is whether they will have any luck winning the illusive Rock Gospel Grammy. This album is deserving of it but with every passing year more new artists join the already crowded field and the average quality of Christian Rock albums greatly increases. This is a must have album for fans of this genre and is easily a good gateway album for those who are curious about the genre as a whole.
I still have many fond memories of playing Red’s first album over and over when it came out. I played the album over and over, and had a blast the one time I had a chance to see them in concert. By the time their second album came out, my changing musical tastes coupled with a friend’s opinion of the album made me skip over it (I’ve since been chastised for skipping over it). I was thrilled when I saw this third album pop up for review, since I had been away from Red for awhile but remembered them so well. And I am glad that I picked this album up.
Even from the first track, “Feed the Machine”, I knew I was going to be hooked. The song has a heavy sound to it, but finishes with some soft strings. “Faceless” is another good track, though I found the lyrics to be a bit cliched at this point. “Lie To Me (Denial)” is one of my favorite tracks on the album. I love the sound, from opening to the chorus to the ending. “Let it Burn” is a good track that slows the pace down, which is something Red has always been good at pulling off. “Not Alone” is another slower track, and not the last one to be found here. Red seems to thrive when they are blasting the heavy music or when they are slowed down into a ballad. The only time I feel that this band falters is when they do something somewhere between that, and even then they do an admirable job.
“Watch You Crawl” is a good example of a song that is between heavy and mellow that works very well. The near-constant drums during the verses and the calmer singing meld quite well. “The Outside” and “Who We Are” are both begging to be played loud, and I usually gratify that beg. “Best is Yet To Come” is another mellow, with some good lyrical content. A bit familiar in its content, it is still an enjoyable track that might get some radio play. “Hymn For The Missing” is a fantastic album closer. The piano line and the soft crooning of Michael Barnes coupled with some good strings lead to the emotional experience that I so fondly remember from their first album.
All in all, I’m sad that I missed their second album after hearing this one. This album has gotten more play time in my car than I would have expected, and it is definitely a must-have for fans of Red or of the genre.