By Lydia Melby, Arts Editor
RED, a Nashville-based alternative/metal rock band whose debut album End of Silence was released in 2006 and nominated for a Grammy in 2007, will be performing in Abilene at Midnight Rodeo on March 13, as part of its tour to promote its second album, Innocence & Instinct.
You might recognize RED from the popular songs Breathe Into Me, Let Go, or Pieces. RED has toured with bands such as Flyleaf, Three Days Grace, Breaking Benjamin, Staind, Papa Roach and Sevendust.
The band’s newest album, Innocence & Instinct, was released Feb. 10, and debuted on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart at No. 15, selling nearly 40,000 copies in its first week. The deluxe edition of the album, which featured four additional tracks, was released the same day.
The album’s theme is the “duality of man,” said guitarist Jasen Rauch. Rauch writes that the album seeks to explore “the fight between our child-like innocence and the instinctive side. On our first release, End of Silence, we addressed issues we struggled with, but this time it’s about the struggle itself.”
In Innocence & Instinct, the audience finds a depth of feeling and barely controlled emotion not always present in similar post-grunge rock bands. The shadow of Dante’s Inferno, which the band named as a major influence for the album, is both foreboding and inspiring, and the thoughtful lyrics of many of the tracks give a complexity that sets those tracks apart from the self-pitying angst one otherwise might expect when browsing through the song titles.
Fight Inside, which the band claims is the best representation of the album’s message, is a devastating anthem about the struggle between one’s conscious soul and primal desires. The contrast of the piano-themed verses and the pounding choruses sums up the precarious position between “overcoming and being overcome.”
Death of Me, the band’s first single, is a smart, angry rock song with brash guitars, a rallying chorus and a sweeping conclusion. The song takes you inside the head of the singer, as he laments the choices that have led him to realize he is his own worst enemy.
The regretful Start Again, which chronicles the break-down of a relationship and the deep shame and remorse that follow, showcases powerful piano and string arrangements, as well as the traditional rock set up in the foreground of the music.
The acoustic-influenced Never Be the Same holds up the Innocence half of the album’s theme. The track features hopeful lyrics and a rich mixture of acoustic and electric guitar, as well as a beautiful orchestral backing.
Shadows, an anguished cry for help that clearly reflects the Inferno theme, is a balanced mix of ballad and driven rock rhythms and is one of my favorites from the album.
RED’s sophomore album (the standard edition) also includes the raw, crashing Out From Under, the inspiring revamped cover of Duran Duran’s idealistic Ordinary World, the beautifully despairing final track Take it All Away and Confession (What’s Inside My Head), which is a fine enough metal ballad but seems a bit lackluster compared to the rest of the songs on the CD.
RED is one of the up-and-coming alternative/metal bands of this era and offers a diverse array of musical styling on both of its albums. I was a huge fan of End of Silence, but after having Innocence & Instinct on repeat for the last few days, I would say the band far outstripped that previous effort. Not only is its album a valuable contribution to the genre, but the concert March 13 promises to be an event you should not miss.