Red is Essential Records' latest new rock band to join their ever budding roster. The band's debut album, End Of Silence, is a powerful and aggressive project that suffers solely from its obvious comparisons to such acts as Linkin Park and even Evanescence. The ambitious debut features a mix of string arrangements and synth melodies with emotional, often intense vocals and crunchy, rhythmic guitars that all serve as the band's groundwork, which was previously laid most popularly by artists like Linkin Park. And although no hip hop vocals can be found in Red's music, their sound retains a distractingly unoriginal feeling.
While an over polishing may deter the more avid hard rock fans from a record like this, it's the kind of sound that opens doors for string accompaniment. And while it may be used to excess at times, its beauty emerges in such tracks as the closer "Already Over Pt. 2." What saves End Of Silence from a quick trip to the bargain bin is its passion and sincerity. Many of the songs unashamedly address the Christian's struggle with temptation and an urgency for Christ -- something you definitely won't find in any of their mainstream counterparts. "Let Go" is an encouragement to cling to hope while "Already Over" (part one) examines the darkest struggles with temptation and its snare. The piano-driven "Pieces" seeks solitude in Christ in the midst of brokenness, displaying the band's strength in writing honest, transparent ballads void of genre clichés. Yet, a more stripped-down approach to the production may have added a more intimate feel, therefore giving it an even more powerful result.
It's hard for me to listen to End Of Silence and not find Red intriguing. However, it's also nearly impossible to listen to them and not wish the band owned the sound they're bearing. So many times, from intros to vocal melodies to guitar riffs, the songs remind the listener of music already done before, giving one the feeling they'd already heard End Of Silence long before their first listen to this album. But while it's easy as a reviewer to retreat behind the hope that "maybe the band's next album will correct these problems," Red is the perfect example of a band that warrants such hope. The band oozes talent and promise despite its formula, but just seems held back by the ever popular trend in Christian music to emulate the mainstream success stories. Could Red stretch their wings beyond the confines of familiarity?
While End Of Silence isn't all that it could be, it still isn't bad for what it is. Red's focus on brokenness and healing through seeking the face of Jesus is really what redeems the band's Essential Records debut. Rock fans will undoubtedly find things to love about End Of Silence, but for those of us ready for artists in the Christian realm to break molds and take risks, Red isn't what we've been waiting for.- Review date: 6/6/06, written by John DiBiase
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