As many of you already know, Red is a popular American Christian rock band from Nashville, Tennessee, that formed in 2002 that has their sound today firmly seated in the hard rock genre. It is also important to note that on the 21st of January 2019 the band made an announcement that they are no longer signed to Essential/Sony and they will record their next album independently. They also announced that touring drummer Dan Johnson will join the band full-time as their fourth member. On January 10, 2020, Red gave an announcement that their upcoming seventh studio album, Declaration, was set for release on April 10, 2020. However on the 25th of March 2020, the band announced that Declaration would be released a week earlier than its original April 10 release date.
The one thing you begin to notice as you go through the musical archive of Red is their progression of articulation and fine tuning of their sound from one album to the next. One gets a distinct perception that they grab hold of the best parts of their sound and try and build on that in giving their audience the best version of themselves at that point in time. Honesty if you dig into their musical history you will discover that they rarely go wrong with that formula or approach if you will.
So where does their latest release, “Declaration” take us? For one the latest evolution of the band marks a surprisingly heavier direction in which I found the band confidently anchored in their overall delivery and aligned with a sense of freedom which in action leads to a greater expression of their gifting and talents.
Artistically the album is broader than past endeavours, yet as before in following their DNA they controllably bring elements from previous releases that perhaps fans enjoyed into the mix. So fans will be happy. I love the inclusion of the strings again on this release as it brings a dramatic and cinematic sound to the fore and with the maturity of Michael Barnes vocal prowess on this release the songs are delivered in sonic booms of catapulting volumes of bellowing sound scapes.
“All For You” is a great choice for a first introductory song to the album, and forms a solid foundation stone for the album. “Infidel” on the other hand explores the vocal maturity of Michael Barnes. Overall the sound of, “Infidel” brings a very cinematic approach to the sound of the song and allows for a very dramatic landscape for one to be drawn into. “Cauterize” has a very experimental feel to it and leads us down a more unconventional direction for the band and shows a band willing to dig deep creativity wise to deliver unconventional without marring or deafening the core sound of the band. I love the song, “Float” so aggressive yet restrained, again enveloped in sound scapes and vocal agility. One cannot help but be drawn into the emotional outpouring that explodes forth from one song to the next in a very unapologetic and visceral manner.
In short “Declaration” is an album of what one expects from Red but with a greater sense of freedom added to the sound that takes the band that one step beyond and in so doing raising the bar not only for themselves but the genre as a whole. The guitars feel purposefully heavier on this release and along with the vocal prowess you as a listener are given a very emotional charged offering that explodes from song to song with intentionality. The lyrical base is thoughtful and adds to the emotional drive of the album. Song to song it sweeps you along like a modern movie score, and tugs at your heart core as it brings awareness that as humanity we all share this world together. What you get is a quality produced product that is lyrically emotional, musically exceptional. There are certain descriptive words that without long over explained sentences that drive the significance and quality of this album. Those words are as follows… It’s emotional, powerful, rageful, cinematic, intentional, visceral, unapologetic, and haunting. Lyrically relevant, this is defiantly a solid release that can be seen as a strong contender for one of the best hard rock albums of the year. It brings forth a new dimension and depth to the band as they bring the time line of their career into a culmination of their best work yet.
My favourite tracks: “Infidel”, “Cauterize”, and “Float”
Review by Donovan de Necker
1 All For You
4 The War We Made
5 The Evening Hate
7 The Victim
9 Only Fight
10 From the Ashes
Michael Barnes – lead vocals
Anthony Armstrong – guitars, backing vocals, assisting producer
Randy Armstrong – bass, backing vocals, piano
Dan Johnson – drums
Rob Graves – producer
Joe Rickard – mixing, mastering
“End of Silence” (2006)
“Innocence & Instinct” (2009)
“Until We Have Faces” (2011)
Release the Panic” (2013)
“Of Beauty and Rage” (2015)
Release Date: April 10th. 2020
Record Label: Red Entertainment/The Fuel Music
Video for ‘The War We Made’
Video for ‘The Evening Hate’
Lyric video for ‘From The Ashes’