Red – Release the Panic Deluxe Edition

By Lee Brown on February-13-2013 | Filed under Reviews | Tags : , , | Share

Red – Release the Panic Deluxe Edition
Score: 3/5Score: 3/5Score: 3/5Score: 3/5Score: 3/53
3.4 (21 votes)

Artist: Red
Album: Release the Panic (Deluxe Edition)
Label: Provident Music Group/ Sony
Release Date: 02/01/13
Reviewer: Lee Brown

Tracklisting: 

  1. Release the Panic
  2. Perfect Life
  3. Die for You
  4. Damage
  5. Same Disease
  6. Hold Me Now
  7. If We Only
  8. So Far Away
  9. Glass House
  10. The Moment We Came Alive
  11. Love Will Leave a Mark (Deluxe Edition only)
  12. As You Go (Deluxe Edition only)
  13. Hymn for the Missing (Guillotine Remix) (Deluxe Edition only)
  14. Death of Me (Guillotine Remix) (Deluxe Edition only)
  15. Breathe Into Me (Remix Acustica) (Deluxe Edition only)

Red made a massive impact with their debut release, End of Silence, back in 2006. Though not groundbreaking, Red proved to have a potent blend of sometimes piano-driven hard rock with testosterone-driven vocals. They returned in 2009 with Innocence and Instinct. Innocence… moved to a darker theme inspired by Dante’s Divine Comedy, yet kept mostly the same core Red sound. In 2011, Red once again returned with their powerful, if not slightly more of the same, album Until We Have Faces. As Innocence… was inspired by Dante, Until We Have Faces took it’s name from a lesser known story by the great C. S. Lewis.

With Release the Panic, Red has worked with producer Howard Benson (P.O.D., My Chemical Romance) to create a “new” sound that is still driven primarily by story telling. Drummer Joe Rickard was quoted as saying that, “One of the things Howard stressed was that if he had heard it before, he didn’t want to hear it on this record.” Considering the appeal that Red has been able to garner from both hard music and traditionally more CCM-based crowds alike, all of this sounds like a perfect combination.

However… With what sounds like great intentions, the final product is something of a mixed bag. Considering Howard’s comment, one would expect the band to explore new musical territory, and they certainly do. It’s harder to understand, however, why much of the new ground they cover sounds so much like where other bands have already gone.

Most notably, several tracks on this album sound like they belong on the B-Sides of Love and Death’s newest album. The title track “Release the Panic” is the first place to start with this, but it is not the most guilty of the bunch. The song “Damage” sounds so much like Love and Death that I had to check all of the press releases twice to make sure Brian “Head” Welch wasn’t making a guest appearance.

Puzzlingly, the other band that kept coming to mind was Skillet. I’m not talking post Collide (come back album of the century) Skillet, I’m talking the industrial synthesized clanging of Invincible-era Skillet. This is even more of a head scratcher when you realize that Benson has produced Skillet, as well, and yet said he wanted only new sounds.

Don’t let this make you think that “Release the Panic” is all bad. It is not. Overall, the album is fairly solid. The writing is cohesive, the guitars and drums are mixed well, and Michael’s somewhat signature vocals are pitch perfect. Still, the final product feels slightly underwhelming.

Thematically, Red continues to produce dark and expansive songs that deal with real life issues. For the most part, the album questions the appearance of what a “good” life really looks like (especially “Perfect Life”), admits personal failures and shortcomings (especially “Damage,” “Same Disease,” and “Release the Panic”), and gives some hope for healing (“Hold Me Now,”The Moment We Come Alive”).

In terms of full thematic progression, however, you need the deluxe edition to get the complete and final story. While the standard edition ends well with “The Moment We Come Alive,” it is “As You Go” that gives the proper conclusion to the themes of brokenness and redemption that are sometimes only alluded to in the standard edition.

“Release the Panic” and “Damage” both come out blasting with chugging guitars and aggressive vocals. As mentioned, both could be confused for B-Sides from Love and Death’s newest album without anyone really being the wiser. “If We Only” would also fit into this category, though the chorus of this track does not quite fit that mold.

“Perfect Life” and “Glass House” tackle the idea of being real with the struggles of life and pains of the world. “Perfect Life” is one prime example of a track that could easily have fit on Skillet’s industrial album Invincible. “Glass House” provides a nice counter to “Perfect Life,” however. Where “Perfect Life” focuses primarily on the problem, “Glass House” focuses on being honest before God. The lyrics, “You alone can see through this glass house we call home. You alone can take away of the pain. You alone can break through the glass house of our souls. Make us whole again,” provide a great example of Red bookending two songs to create story progression and flow. “Glass House” is a highlight track on the album. It sounds distinctly Red and incorporates their signature piano driven rock sound that has been a staple of so many of their radio tracks.

“Die For You” and “Same Disease” are the next example of a tracks ripped from Invincible. The industrial synth and higher octave vocals stand out and break from the typical Red guttural vocals, but still fit well within Michael’s range. As each track progresses, the sound does return a little more to “signature Red” with the exception of the occasional synthed vocals and metal clanging in the background. Benson’s touch is most apparent on
“Die For You,” as it certainly sounds like some of the work he’s done with P.O.D. in the past. “Same Disease,” on the other hand reminds me of where bands like Marilyn Manson and NIN were going in the 90’s.

“Hold Me Now” and “So Far Away” sound more like what Red has produced in the past and are each more radio friendly than most of the rest of the album. These are also the more directly spiritual tracks. While Red certainly wears their faith on their sleeves, it is veiled behind  the chaos of this world in earlier tracks.

If you purchase the “regular” edition of Release the Panic, then your album will end with “The Moment We Come Alive.” This track does well as a closing song. It is an anthemic track that nods to all of the pain and torment brought up through the rest of the album, yet finally points clearly to an answer beyond ourselves. “The Moment We Come Alive” is truly one of the highlight tracks of the album. It is just hard enough to satisfy one crowd and just tender enough for the other without alienating either.

Deluxe Edition Exclusive Tracks: If you pick up the Deluxe Edition, your musical experience will continue through two additional original tracks and three remixes. I will not discuss the remixes, as… they’re remixes. They’re great as additional content and they’re fun, but the average person will never prefer them to the originals. I will note, however, the irony in the fact that the “Hymn for the Missing” remix was missing from my review copy of the album.

The two original tracks that are added by the Deluxe Edition, then, are “Love Will Leave a Mark” and “As You Go.” “Love Will Leave a Mark” is a serviceable song with only a slight industrial flare. The lyrics are a little obvious (at least the pre-chorus/chorus), but the track is not necessarily the lesser for it. “As You Go,” on the other hand, is almost worth the cost of the extra tracks by itself. As I mentioned above, “As You Go” feels like a more perfect close to the album from an experience standpoint. The lyrics, “The world alone can hate you. The world alone can break you. But, as you go remember I’m by your side. The love within you can heal these tears that burn and through it all remember I’m by your side as you go,” becomes one of the most hauntingly beautiful moments on the album as it echoes back Jesus’ final earthly words (Matthew 28:20) that He will be with us to the end of the age.

Overall: Release the Panic is neither a masterpiece, nor is it deplorable. Despite claiming to cover mostly new ground, the final product is scattered. Many tracks sound like they were taken directly off of Love and Death or Skillet albums. In spite of this, Release the Panic has some really solid moments. Fans of their past work will certainly want to pick this one up. The Deluxe Edition may be worth the extra cost, if only for “As You Go,” though the bulk of the extra tracks are remixes.

RIYL: Love and Death, Skillet, Staple

 

Red - Release the Panic Deluxe Edition, 3.4 out of 5 based on 21 ratings

Click here to list all the current reviews by Lee Brown

About the author Lee Brown

Lee Brown is Discipleship Pastor at Meadow Park Church in Columbus, OH. He is the author of "Here's How: An Introduction to Practical Discipleship," and is also an adjunct professor and content specialist for Mid-America Christian University. Most importantly, he is a loving husband and father. Lee loves jamming to bands like Blindside, Project 86, Demon Hunter, Spoken, Lecrae, and Lil' Dre. For more about Lee, be sure to visit www.KnightoftheSon.com. View all posts by Lee Brown

16 Responses to 'Red – Release the Panic Deluxe Edition'

  1. I stil rated it a “2”, like i sed i wud. But i can c y u gave it a “3”, “Lee Brown”. Gud detailed review, as usual. U been on a rol lately dude!!

    • Lee Brown says:

      I really struggled through a “2.” Red has become an inherently divisive band. While I’ve, personally, been less impressed with each coming release, my youth (I’m a youth pastor as my “real” job) who hate it when I play a Demon Hunter or For Today song to start youth group, love RED. My CCM-loving youth who listen to K-Love primarily, think Red is the best hard band ever. So, while hard music fans grow increasingly disappointed with RED, the majority of music listeners find them even more in their good graces. I really think this album will be a misstep on that, however, as the harder L&D styled songs will turn that crowd off, and it won’t win over the hard music fans (Love and Death did a much better job of being Love and Death).

      So, I considered heavily giving a “2.” In the end, there was enough meat to chew on (the songs I highlighted above as “good tracks”) that it was worth a 3 to me. Only time will tell if this holds up. For example, I desperately want to go back and listen to Spoken’s album again. I still have those songs stuck in my head. Unfortunately, I can’t due to other reviews sitting on my plate. I don’t think I’ll miss this album much.

      So, if it were possible to give a 2.5 through our review system, that is what I would have given.

    • Lee Brown says:

      Oh, and thanks “Phil”! :-)

    • Word. ^^ Thanx 4 the detailed/ insiteful reviews+ hard work dewd, lol.

    • Lee Brown says:

      For reference, I would have given a couple of their albums a 4.

  2. Luke Foster says:

    Good review but geez I would rate this like a 1.7. Just so dissapointing.

  3. Smacky X says:

    You done good Lee. Like my man Lucas said in another thread, “I still find this better than the majority of what the genre gives us.” 3/5 is by no means an outlandish score for this album. I think at times, people here can latch on to others’ thoughts and perspectives about a band or album and have that color their own ability to evaluate it. (That happens everywhere, all the time, not just”on here”) So a few comments giving it a bad rap off the start caught fire. But I think can’t reconcile in my mind who this could get any less that a 3. (3-4ish range for me)

  4. Scott says:

    I mean, look at the cover art…

  5. Dave86 says:

    I’ll be honest, when I listened to this on my iPod and focused on nothing else, it bored me pretty quickly. However, when I recently played it in the background while working on projects and stuff, certain elements from a couple of songs began to stand out more. I think Lee was pretty accurate with his review. As a whole, the album is just ok, but as individual songs, there are a few gems w/ solid musical moments. I also agree that the heaviest moments, especially at the beginning of the album, are by far the weakest tracks.

  6. MrM says:

    I think the cover art is cool, though I wish they had incorporated some red colouring to it. It just isn’t R3D without the red :S
    I picked this up today on a whim, and threw it on my ipod. “Release the Panic” still reminds me of Chevelle (thanks to whoever pointed that out when this song was released earlier), and “Glass House” I thought was really well done. Unfortunately, I’ve only had time to listen to two songs thus far, and because of shuffle, “Glass House” is the only new song I’ve heard so far hahah. But glad to hear one of the bonus tracks is pretty good, I’m pumped to hear it. Though my rating will probably not change from a 2 or 3 :P

  7. Lucas says:

    Would definitely agree with the 3 though I might’ve given it a 2 after my first listen. It has grown on me greatly, but I think the growth has reached its maximum. I would like to address one thing you pointed out, Lee:

    “Considering Howard’s comment, one would expect the band to explore new musical territory, and they certainly do. It’s harder to understand, however, why much of the new ground they cover sounds so much like where other bands have already gone.”

    I cannot agree more with this statement and it completely explains why the first half of this record was so mediocre to me. Apart from the opening track (which has grown on me but still sounds like a watered down version of themselves), it seems they did most of the “experimenting” in the first half and it really had much the opposite effect. “Perfect Life” sounded like your typical bland-as-all-get-out radio single and “Damage” was just…unpleasant to me. It’s the heaviest they’ve ever been, but it seemed so contrived rather than passionate. (“Let Go” and “Out From Under” are fantastic examples of the latter) I thought the only song that really panned out for them in the first stretch was “Die For You”, which I just can’t see anyone not enjoying. It’s kind of what I was hoping for when they talked about the record having a “poppier influence” with “massive hooks”. I think the most frustrating part about this album is that when they got back to being RED is when it got good. “If We Only” and “Glass Houses” are probably the two best songs on the record partially because they brought back the strings. RED just isn’t RED without them strings.

    It’s interesting that I can dissect RED’s music for quite some time despite its simplicity. I guess it’s cause I see so many ways it can be improved, although I know a lot of fans enjoy it so who am I to say how they should improve? Still, I really think they could find a compromise between their signature sound and something much more different. Unique even. Personally, I think they should take less notes from their radio peers and take more notes from Falling Up. :)

  8. Lee Brown says:

    Just finished talking to RED for our interview. Great guys. I’ll have it up tomorrow or Sunday. Great insight into this record.

  9. thruchristalone777 says:

    Just listened to this album for the first time. Would rate about a 2. Didn’t care for it much to be honest. Found it to be a really boring album.

Comments closed.

SEARCH

HOT RIGHT NOW

RECENT COMMENTS

REVIEWS | INTERVIEWS

IVM POLL

  • Favorite Recent Review at IVM (from list provided)

    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...
  • Polls Archive