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Released: Feb 1, 2011
Genre: Alternative metal, nu metal
Label: Essential / Sony Music Entertainment
Number Of Tracks: 11
"Until We Have Faces" is Red's third full release and I have to say, it does not disappoint at all.
Until We Have Faces
sg4ever, on april 20, 2011 2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sound: The band has definitely went through some changes and development since the release of End Of Silence. They have a sound that is familiar, yet different at the same time. You feel like you've heard it before, but you can't just place where and from whom you've heard the sound before. It was a different sound when they came out, especially for Christian hard rock, and much of the sound is still intact. It was dark, melodic, and emotional when other Christian rock abounded in a more punk style or grungy alternative style. Pounding, low-tuned, crunchy guitars roar with the ethereal sound of a string section and pumping rhythm section behind them. Michael Barnes fronts the band with a not groundbreaking performance, but a pleasing tone to his singing voice and decent range.
With that said, the sound is a bit lacking compared to the energy and soul of their last two albums. The sound is still aggressive and dark, but noticeably subdued at the same time. It screams of an abundance of studio production. There was production in all their albums, but the glistening and polished feel of these tracks remove rawness that should be there at times. Evanescence with a more powerful drummer (or could that just be the production?) and a male singer to front came to mind a few times. It would seem that they are trying to pull more radio listening fans, which isn't that bad in it's own right. It's simply disappointing to me, when they sounded so fresh and vibrant during their first two albums. Other negatives I feel that should be pointed out is the simplicity. This is their third album of riffs, power chords, and use of a string section to carry most of the lead melodies and parts. It's an effective sound, but they need more diversity. Those guitarists are really holding back. The riffs are a bit more interesting this time around when they come up, but at least one good solo to break the monotony wouldn't hurt. Finally, the singer seems to be holding back on some of his range on this album. His voice is still strong and smooth as ever, but it seems like he held some of the higher range back. This is possibly to make live performances easier (I write and understand this is a legitimate reason).
Well, I guess it's time for some positives. There are more tones and textures from the guitars. It's not just distortion all the way through. We hear clean tones on Buried Beneath and on Best Is Yet To Come, both with a nice dose of reverb and delay. Who We Are has a tremelo drenched riff as the intro. The aforementioned song also has some delay soaked high note parts. It's mixed quietly, but it sounds like tremelo picking. They also mixed up the playing and there are octaves and more intricate riffs. Although, the album is noticeably softer, Feed The Machine is a great opener and probably among their heaviest songs. It almost sounds like industrial metal. As stated before, Michael has a strong singing voice as usual and those voice lessons really helped bring out his enunciation and clarity. The drumming isn't groundbreaking, but it is strong and interesting enough not to sound bland. Finally, as annoying as the mainstream qualities seeping into the sound can be, there are some addictive hooks in the music. You'll find yourself nodding along to some of the songs (although the One Republic style beats on a couple songs are pretty blatant and obnoxious).
Overall, it's not outstanding but a solid effort. // 7
Lyrics: The lyrics are actually quite good on this album. Some of them are pretty direct, but they weave in some interesting wordplay so it doesn't sound trite. Much of the message is centered around and directed at people not finding their own identity and doing anything to follow the crowd. Instead of doing what they know is right or what they personally prefer, they compromise themselves to appease the crowd. Feed The Machine and Faceless provide examples of this theme. Let It Burn is probably my favorite song that adheres lyrically to this theme. "Can you stand the pain? How long will you hide your face? How long will you be afraid? Are you afraid? Will you play this game? Will you find a way to walk away? How long will you let it burn? Let it burn." There are other messages. Not Alone demonstrates a more faith based message as it depicts what God is saying to all the people lost in life. A non-believer can take this as someone talking to a friend. Hymn For The Missing seems to detail a person in the verses and shows God speaking in the chorus.
The singer is quite skilled among many whiny and "forced voice" singers in rock nowadays. My own problem on this album is he is holding back some notes in his range that he can definitely hit. He hit them before his voice lessons so he can definitely hit them this time around. // 8
Overall Impression: I would say there are some similarities between older Linkin Park, Evanescence, and some Chevelle. They have their own thing going though, even it is starting to sound overly polished and more radio friendly. Feed The Machine, Lie To Me, Let It Burn, Watch You Crawl, and The Outside are the songs I tend to favor on this album. I've already stated that I dislike the frothy qualities they are starting to adopt in their sound. I like the strong melodies and the more interesting riffs they wrote this time around. If it were stolen, I would ask my friend to burn me another copy. Just saying. I already have it on my computer though. // 8
Until We Have Faces
DS_rockguy, on may 30, 2012 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: Red has always been known for their hard rock and metal type of sound. "Until We Have Faces" is no different. With songs like "Feed The Machine", "Faceless", "Watch You Crawl" and "Who We Are", this album has a really good collection of loud songs. Surprisingly though, a song like "Best Is Yet To Come", which is much softer and has a pleasant sound, is also a part of this album. Other slower tracks in the album like "Hymn For The Missing" and "Not Alone" are impressive too. Even though the band is known for their dark, metal sound, they have done a good job with the slower songs too. According to me, this was like an experiment done by Red and yes, it has turned out to be a success. Nevertheless, their usual loud songs are, as always, outstanding. The sound of this album has, overall, been impressive. // 10
Lyrics: Michael Barnes has been really impressive with lyrics. The lyrics have been written to match the songs. "Best Is Yet To Come", which is a slower song sung on a major scale has a hope-giving theme while "Faceless", which is a louder song and sung on a minor scale has a theme about being fake and putting up masks. "Who We Are" has a theme that tells us that we were broken-hearted before and we gave in to people but now we should be "who we are" and we must fight back. So, overall, Michael Barnes has done an impressive job with the lyrics in this album. // 9
Overall Impression: Red has continued to rock charts with "Until We Have Faces" being placed at no. 1 in the "Rock Albums" and no. 2 in the "Billboard 200" charts of Billboard.com. It was no. 1 on the "Christian albums" list for 54 weeks. Yes, this album was really impressive. I love the mix of the hard rock, fast, upbeat songs and the slower, peaceful songs. Maybe a few more metal songs could have made the album better because after all, that's what Red is known for. Of course, they still did an amazing job with their third studio album. If I lost this CD, I would rush to the store to get it back! Keep it up Red! // 10
Until We Have Faces
jk93, on april 18, 2011 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: "Until We Have Faces" is Red's third full release and I have to say, it does not disappoint at all. Being a fan of the band since their first album "End of Silence" I am pleased to say that they have developed their sound considerably since their last release. The sound itself is much darker in this record, with the guitars much heavier than "Innocence and Instinct" and the melancholic synths such as in "Let It Burn". The guitar riffs are also more complex this time around, an example being in "Feed the Machine". I don't speak as a fan, but I can't really find any major issues in the instrumental aspect of the music after the first couple of listens. // 9
Lyrics: The lyrics seem to have become much darker as well, with themes such as feeling emotionally empty like in "Faceless" being there for someone who appears to be slipping away like in "Not Alone". I could actually hear the pain in the singer's voice unlike the last two albums. Personally, I can relate to the lyrics quite well as well which just amplifies my liking for them. The lyrics definitely goes well with the music and it is sung incredibly well, with the melodies catchy and at times unpredictable which makes it more interesting to listen to. // 9
Overall Impression: This is a solid album that I would definitely buy again if it was lost or stolen. Tracks to look out for are "Feed the Machine", "Faceless", "Not Alone" and "Hymn for the Missing". In particular, listen out for the piano/synth parts in the last track, it really shows the band's sensitive side. Enjoy guys, you won't regret it! // 9
Until We Have Faces
unregistered, on november 14, 2011 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: 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. // 9
Lyrics: 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. // 8
Overall Impression: 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. // 9