Music / Red
One of the most passionate and successful Christian metal bands, Red (stylized as RED
) is a band that can tug at your heartstrings
, make you sing along
, and make you bang your head
at the same time with almost every song.
Characterized by their dark, emotional music, prominent mainstream rock influences, bombastic string sections, energetic and fiery live shows, and the instantly recognizable, expressive vocals of frontman Michael Barnes, Red have crafted one of Christian music's most devoted followings and have gained near-universal respect and acclaim worldwide over the years, not just for their music, but for their love for their fans and ability to strive through their hardships even through the bleakest of times. To say the least, Red have had quite a history.
Red was formed in 2006 by twin brothers Randy and Anthony Armstrong, bassist and guitarist respectively, drummer Andrew Hendrix, guitarist Jasen Rauch, and lead singer Michael Barnes, choosing their band name to symbolize the "blood of Christ". Before the band released an album, Hendrix left and was replaced with Hayden Lamb. After signing with big name record label Sony BMG after creating a handful of demo tracks, they released their first full-length album End of Silence
that same year.End of Silence
received excellent reviews for its high-velocity brand of alt-metal/modern rock, both inside and outside of Christian music circles, as well as for being an original spin on a tired formula, although some criticized it for its radio appeal. The album's opening track and lead single "Breathe Into Me" made the top 10 in the Active Rock charts, which had in turn gave them a bit more of a following. The following year, the album was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rock Gospel Album, but lost to Jonny Lang's Turn Around
. To compensate, however, they won a Dove Award for Best Rock Song for the above-mentioned "Breathe Into Me" and was nominated for another with the power ballad "Lost" from the same album.
Tragedy struck when the band suffered a near-fatal car accident in which their van rolled over a highway, critically injuring Lamb and forcing him to leave the band. The crash was the inspiration for the band's second album Innocent & Instinct
, released in early 2009. The album was near-universally acclaimed and featured the band fully coming into their own for the first time, receiving rave reviews from the modern rock, metal, and Christian music press, and to this day is regarded as one of their greatest. Even more touring followed, and in 2010, the album gave them another Dove Award for Rock Album of the Year, and was also nominated for a Grammy, but sadly didn't win.
Jasen Rauch left the band in early 2010, although he still contributed songwriting. The band's first album as a four-piece, Until We Have Faces
, was released in February 2011. While not as well-received critically as their first two, it became popular with fans and solidified their status as one of Christian metal's biggest and most consistent bands. Compared to their previous records, Until We Have Faces
contained more powerful ballads, featured a heavier sound, and lower tunings. Its opening song "Feed the Machine" began a continuing storyline with its long-form music video. The record also received the stamp of approval from Dream Theater
guitarist John Petrucci, who named it his favorite album of 2011.
Unfortunately, the band began to focus too much on their success, and their fourth album Release the Panic
was subject to no small amount of derision. It was criticized for its less inspired sound, short length, and commercial songwriting, and began a brief Dork Age
for them. Michael Barnes openly stated in an interview that the album was written to have more commercial appeal, but doesn't regret making it.
After this, the band took time to remind them what made them want to write music in the first place, and in early 2015, released their self-described Magnum Opus Of Beauty & Rage
. Featuring the fan-favorite song "Darkest Part" (which became the band's Signature Song
), Of Beauty and Rage
is widely considered to be the band's best album to date.
- End of Silence (2006)
- Innocence & Instinct (2009)
- Until We Have Faces (2011)
- Release the Panic (2013)
- Of Beauty and Rage (2015)
Tropes that apply to Red:
- Alternative Metal
- Alternate Aesop Interpretation: "Breathe Into Me" is clearly supposed to be about giving yourself over to God when you're in your Darkest Hour, but to some it could just as easily be interpreted as a person Slowly Slipping Into Evil and crossing the Moral Event Horizon by willingly surrendering their mind and body to a malevolent force that only wants to use or possess them.
- Author's Saving Throw: The Re-Calibrated version of Release the Panic. It added their signature strings back to a number of tracks, possibly in a realization of the negative fan reception of the original Release the Panic album. Songs like the title track, "Hold Me Now", and "Glass House" are the largest benefiters.
- Bald of Awesome/Badass Beard: Michael.
- Christian Rock: They said they are themselves. They are, unlike some bands, open about their Christianity, and will proudly tell any fan the reason why they believe they are part of the movement.
- Dork Age: Release the Panic, most notably for dropping their signature strings in exchange for being 'RED-lite' and having more mainstream accessibility.
- Growingthe Beard: Innocence & Instinct, which was highly praised and rated for improving upon their already good debut End of Silence. Arguably done a second time from Release the Panic to Of Beauty & Rage.
- I Can't Do This by Myself: "Pieces". "I tried so hard/Thought I could do this on my own/I've lost so much along the way..."
- Magnum Opus: For most fans, it's usually between Innocence & Instinct and Of Beauty & Rage. Until We Have Faces sometimes enters the argument.
- Metal Scream: Happens in some of their heavier songs. Michael is rather good at it.
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Their ballads get quite low on the scale, ranging from 1 to 3, while most of their songs are a 6 or a 7.
- Their heaviest song is the Pantera-esque "Damage", which is around 8.
- Signature Style: Hard-hitting metal riffs combined with symphonic undertones, sad and bleak melodies that still maintain accessibility, and the signature emotional voice of Michael Barnes. Not many bands in alt-rock and metal sound that much like them.
- Symphonic Metal: Contains elements of this from time to time due to their heavy use of strings and choirs on some songs. Of Beauty & Rage takes the symphonic part of their sound to the next level.