Radio rock is a tiresome genre stuck in a loop of mediocrity and songs that all sound like the same band. That doesn’t mean there aren’t bands who do it better than others, and it doesn’t mean you can’t bend the mold. Sure, it should be break the mold but Red doesn’t break it. Instead they work within the confines of the mold and push against the mold and bend things just enough to make it interesting.
Red decided that the industrial/new wave elements from Release the Panic weren’t going to carry over. Which is fine. As much as I enjoyed the fun of Release the Panic, that record didn’t really move me.
But the band’s not done experimenting with their sound. Of Beauty And Rage sees the band ratcheting up their sound by adding full orchestration to their hard rock vibe. Not sprinkled in, but running through each and every track. It’s a part of the records DNA. On top of that, vocalist Michael Barnes adds to the intensity by bringing more screaming into his vocals. Those two factors create an intenser experience then any I’ve previously heard from thebans.
Honestly, it takes a couple of songs before I find myself connecting with Of Beauty And Rage. Descent is a bit of a throwaway intro. Especially since Imposter has it’s own extended intro. Imposter has it’s ups and downs. It’s very cinematic in composition and vibe. But that movie score movement tends to take away some of the songs natural ebb and flow. The pre-chorus builds but dies to a melodic chorus. It’s not that I hate the singing on the chorus. It’s the music that creates a battling dynamic. On the flip side, it is the orchestration combined with Barnes’ vocal that create this over the top operatic sound that feels weird on the chorus of Shadow and Soul.
Darkest Part feels somewhat like an Evanessence song. Which I don’t hate. I actually love the movement and interplay of the strings and Barnes vocals. Fight to Forget goes back to creating an arrangement that makes the chorus seem out of place. I appreciate that the band is taking risks and not giving us standard hard rock arrangements of songs, but it just doesn’t appeal to me aesthetically. The opening strings on Of These Chains are moving and beautiful. It feels like a turning point in the score. The song is simple and offers a much needed respite from the over arranged tracks.
By the time we get to Yours Again, Red seems to get back to just being Red. The arrangements a little simpler and I enjoyed the songs a lot more.
Like I’ve said a thousand times, I have nothing but the utmost respect and admiration for bands trying to step out of the box and do new things. And honestly, I like Of Beauty and Rage more my first listen through then I did my fourth and fifth listens. So take that for whatever you will. Another solid hard rock record. 3.5 out of 5 Stars.