RED - Declaration

RED Declaration cover
RED Entertainment / The Fuel Music
Well, I was never the biggest fan of alt/groove/nu/bro metal, with only a few tracks ever catching my fancy – but a genre I’ve also been rather uninterested in is extreme Christian metal. I mean, I’ll take some Stryper or the occasional power/neoclassical white metal bands (Joshua, Golden Resurrection etc.), but I hardly feel like I need spiritual guidance and catechesis.
This band has been a going concern since 2006 and has released more than half a dozen bands since… to great acclaim, through Essential/Sony. This is the first album in which they sort of go it alone, only using Red (a part of Sony) for distribution, which will probably see them take a steep sales decline, but might actually make them some money, if they don’t implode.
Musically the band goes for a much heavier alt style – at their most melodic, think Linking Park or without the raps or POD and at their heaviest Slipknot, when they’re melodic yet hard hitting. Hinder and a few other bands come to mind as well.
“All For You” is an interesting enough, almost cinematic opener, with strings and interesting arrangements and dynamics that help keep it from stagnating. It doesn’t reinvent the alt-rock/metal wheel, but it spins it around, fast enough to daze and amaze.
“Infidel” is more predictable a melodic rocker, with syncopated beats and a bit of that slip-aggression. Singer, Michael Barnes, is able to make it work, but it doesn’t get points for being original, cause it’s not.
“Cauterize” is a slightly more sweeping/epic song that follows a similar template, tinkering with the parameters a little, but not really managing to make things significantly stand out.
“The War We Made” is very Linkin Park like and without the raps, I’m guessing it’s not too hard to swallow.
Where the band manages to rise above is “The Evening Hate”, since it has both the depth and breadth to encompass all of the band’s aspects in a song with enough hooks and changing moods, which manages to keep even an unbeliever like me, engaged.
“Float” progs up things, towards aggro-nu and I’m guessing that having an ultra-melodic chorus over emulated strings is an interesting choice, but what is underwhelming is that it doesn’t manage to stand out from the gazillion bands that attempt to do the same thing, some even using chord progressions that are too close for comfort.
“The Victim” is different. It has in part, the paranoid style of SOAD, but with added aggression. I suppose, it’s one of the better tunes, even for daring to be different from the rest… it won’t win the band any novelty awards, but it gives the album some much needed diversity of sorts.
“Sever” is a predictable, but welcome ballad, in the sense that it manages to change the pacing and mood of the album, allowing the outburst of the mid-tempo “Only Fight” to sound far more effective.
Finally, “From the Ashes” culminates the album, epic and sweeping, with additional orchestrations along the riffing making it more interesting and the band managing to bring it down to a poignant mellow end, just when it seems impossible to resolve.
Overall, I enjoyed Red’s album more than I thought, but then again, I never had high expectations. If you’re a fan, you’ll be well pleased, but I am unlikely to congregate with you at one of their concerts.