Sound — 9
RED takes its signature crunchy guitars with synth sounds to once again create an album centered around the vocals of Mike Barnes. Since "End Of Silence", RED has never really focused on intricate lead guitar lines. Instead, the focus is on powerful and personal lyrics. Drop tunings on the guitars with heavy riffs carry most of the songs to create an aggressive tone to bring out the sense of anger and aggravation with the world's lack of genuity, while songs like "Not Alone" or "Hymn For The Missing" are undertoned mostly by string instruments and piano, another signature sound for RED ballads. Overall, RED hasn't done much to change what it is known for: Heavy distorted guitars, aggressive/emotional vocals, and a mixture of synth/regular drums. For classic RED fans, this is not a bad thing. Although, expect a heavier feel for this album than the previous two.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics conveyed in this album are entirely based around the concept of "Identity". And knowing that RED's background are as Christians lyrically, the concept is more of the identity of the believer. Many of the lyrics can be interpreted by the listener as somewhat different from another, such as one person may feel "the lyrics are based around identities in Christians" while another listener may feel "the lyrics are about people being fake and just following the media". The aggressiveness of Mike Barnes' vocals is better than ever, but we don't quite hear the potential he has as a singer. His voice on the ballads on this album are quite emotional and add as a perfect catalyst for the theme of the songs. On the next album I would like to hear his voice at its best.
Overall Impression — 9
Comparatively, RED doesn't stray too far from the norm of mainstream heavy alternative rock. "Feed The Machine" kicks off the album with a bang, introducing heavy riffs and lyrics. "Lie To Me" comes off as one of the first singles from the album, don't be surprised to hear it on the radio. "Not Alone" and "The Best Is Yet To Come" are ballads that reach out to those looking for inspiration. And "Hymn For The Missing" finishes off the album solemnly in the usual fashion for their style. Overall, I love this album for it's theme of finding your identity both as a person and also as a Christian. This is an album definitely worth a listen if you like good heavy rock. Christian or not, the lyrics are both inspiring and thoughtful.