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Submission Red, Untamed Ones
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Submission Red
Untamed Ones



Artist Info: Discography
Album length: 11 tracks: 34 minutes, 48 seconds
Street Date: October 22, 2012
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Ever since groups like Flyleaf, Paramore and Fireflight began taking over the airwaves, bands with female head bangers have been gracing magazine covers, radio countdowns, and music charts more than ever lately. It seems that because of the success of said musicians, droves of young bands have been following their lead. Emerging into the industry with a similar formula are the Florida natives, Submission Red.

Submission Red first broke out on the scene in 2008 with their self-titled EP. After signing with Dream Records, they came back around again with their first full-length, Vision Tour, released in 2011. Over the past year, they've been working hard to build up hype and expectation for this new record, Untamed Ones. With a bio that files them under both "indie rock" and "hard rock" (which I would personally not file under either), and states bands like Nine Inch Nails, Switchfoot, and Hillsong as being comparable in sound to them, it definitely adds to the curiosity on what the final product will sound like. Does the album live up to the expectations they've created?

The album opens up with the title track, "Untamed Ones," and it's clear that Submission Red is intending to present their message unabashedly in their music. With choruses like "We are untamed ones, and we rise above the flames. You see us walk above the living, but we are not the same. We are the ordinary, seeking extraordinary. We are untamed ones," it seems like they're aiming for both flair and substance, but unfortunately fall into the "it's all been done before" category. "24 (I Want More Of You)" comes off as a rocker, with vocalist Yvonne Winfrey adding some background screams along with her singing. The bridge then goes into somewhat of a breakdown, but by the end it leaves much to be desired. "Hurting Me Like High School" appears to be about an unrequited love and "history repeating" itself, but instead of coming off as poignant and witty, it's almost laughable because of how cheesy the lyrics are written. The oddball on the record, "Happy Birthday Sunshine," is a short one-minute-and-five-second ditty, and has a tinge of country twang sprinkled through it. While it's probably meant to be charming, it's irrelevant and ill-fitted for this particular project. At least where it's placed on the record, it would have been better suited as a hidden track on one of the songs instead of having its own track listing. Adding to the mix are "When He Looks Down" and "What Is It All For?" which are the two ballads found on here. They both follow the standard patterns of a rock ballad, but do nothing to reach beyond that mold. The final track on Untamed Ones is "Alive," ending it all on a mellow, if not dissonant, note.

While the instrumentals are by far more enjoyable than Winfrey's vocals (more on that later), they still come off as mediocre at best and poorly practiced at worst. Winfrey's voice is not very enjoyable on the majority of the songs, and it feels like she's pushing her voice too much on several tracks. As mentioned above, the lyrics come off as cliché and cheesy, which makes it even harder to take the band seriously with this release. One thing that Submission Red makes clear is that they believe they have something to say with music. While it's great that their message has some good virtues, it's also something that has been said before, in almost the same fashion, many, many times over. I realize that there's only so much a band can say and do to be original, but there are also ways to push yourself to make your music and lyrics as creative as they can be. It just doesn't feel as if Submission Red succeeded to do that on this album.

With all that being said, the song "Fight For Me," while it's nothing to write home about, is the song the band sounds the best on together. The guitars have some decent riffs and the vocals are more tolerable that most of the other tracks.

Now, this isn't all to say this band won't improve and grow over time, but after listening to Untamed Ones a few times through, it makes me wonder how they, out of all the other aspiring bands, rose to national recognition and landed a contract with Dream Records. The flaws and lack of creativity are very clear on here, which are the last two things any band or record label wants to have on an album. If Submission Red wants to stay in the game, they're going to have to step it up. Long gone are the days where solely having a female lead singer distinguishes a band from their contemporaries. They're going to have to push themselves to grow creatively if they want to keep up with the industry.

I know that some of you out there may enjoy Submission Red's sound, and thus will probably like Untamed Ones, but if you were searching for something to satisfy your craving for pop punk/pop rock, then this album may not be your final destination.

- PReview date: 10/10/12, Review date: 10/12/12, written by Cortney Warner of Jesusfreakhideout.com
A Second Opinion
Stars
Pop punk music is really easy to do well; conversely, it's also really easy to mess up. While there are a plethora of examples to prove this theory, the latest culprit is new Dream Records signing Submission Red. The foursome got picked up by Dream last year after only one independent EP in 2008, and they released their first full-length, Vision Tour, through the label last year, although slightly under the radar. Their sophomore album is called Untamed Ones, and has a lot of very high expectations surrounding it. Of course, when your band bio claims to have been described as "the epitome of rock-n-roll," high expectations are only natural. Untamed Ones wastes no time in proving that description as a gross overstatement; not only are they not original, but their music is nowhere near deserving of that title. The musicianship is tight for most of the album, but can get very loose and sound untrained sometimes; a good example is the bridge of "When He Looks Down," which features missed notes and an apparent lack of coordination. The following song and Submission Red's first single, "24 (I Want More of You)," is mostly a Paramore knock-off, but when the bridge comes around, they go into some sloppy, hardcore-style chugging and dry chanting of "Forever is never enough." I do like the music in "Fight For Me;" it's operatic and rocky. It's still not even a glimpse of an original sound, but "Fight For Me" is at least what it sounds like when the band does a good job.

Now, if we look at Untamed Ones by separating the album quality into two categories - those being vocals/lyrics and music - the music is very easily the stronger of the two. Vocalist Yvonne Winfrey's voice is unappealing in just about every line she sings, and the lyrics leave a lot to be desired. To reference their bio again, if "Submission Red has got something to say," it's surely not anything I haven't heard before. Granted, we as humans can never write more songs proclaiming God's glory than what He is worthy of, but when songs use lyrics like "I want to live while I'm alive," a sentiment used almost to the point of being cliche, it becomes aggravating as a music fan. The lyrics can also be rather juvenile at times; "Untamed Ones" says "Maybe we're not the cool ones, but we got life, oh but we rocked the school once, remember the time we stood up for what we believed in? We got a life and we got a reason...the cool ones treated us cruel once, but now we shine, just like a rare jewel does in its own time." The high school theme is also used in "Hurting Me Like High School," where she sings "Maybe I'm not the prettiest, but baby I was your loudest cheerleader, but I guess I just failed the test, now it's history repeating, I guess you're in summer and I'm in a winter fever, you're hurting me like high school." I understand wanting to appeal to a younger age range, which Submission Red most likely would do given their sound, but poor lyrics like that would still be a turn off to my high school self. To her credit, Winfrey's lyrics are not the worst I've heard in Christian rock (I'll spare feelings and not name names here), but there's very little depth to be found here. Overall, if you're looking for good pop punk, look elsewhere. - Scott Fryberger, 10/9/12

 

. Record Label: Dream Records
. Album length: 11 tracks: 34 minutes, 48 seconds
. Street Date: October 22, 2012
. Buy It: iTunes
. Buy It: AmazonMP3
. Buy It: Amazon.com

  1. Untamed Ones (3:19)
  2. Freedom Looks Good On Me (3:25)
  3. When He Looks Down (3:55)
  4. 24 (I Want More of You) (3:01)
  5. Hurting Me Like High School (3:19)
  6. What Is It All For? (3:30)
  7. Happy Birthday Sunshine (1:05)
  8. Glimpse of Light (3:22)
  9. Fight For Me (3:12)
  10. Dirt and Dust (3:12)
  11. Alive (3:31)

 

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