With RED, their modus operandi has always been to meld the aggressive with the angelic. Nearly every song on their first three releases blended the lines between what could be considered catchy, cinematic, and chaotic – with special assistance from a stirring string section weaving its way around the background. So when RED decided to tone down the orchestral accompaniments on their last release, Release the Panic, the band also inadvertently lost an element of their songwriting identity – and well, fans panicked. Fast forward three years later to the band’s latest release, of Beauty and Rage, where RED have refocused on their roots, reintroduced those sweeping strings, and have crafted a gripping record full of emotionally charged hard rock songs.
The rough premise of the record is dealing with the trial and tribulations that life produces and trying to find the beauty within the struggle. Naturally, the music is wrapped with themes of darkness, sorrow, and frustration. Quite frankly, fans of RED’s more aggressive material will have plenty to enjoy here. “Imposter” broods angrily with an unsettling mid-tempo pace before erupting midway through. The nearly six-minute “Shadow and Soul” tosses and turns, trading outbursts of aggression for moments of quiet reflection. “What You Keep Alive” explores the vices we all keep within the ill-lit corners of our personal lives, and “Gravity Lies” delivers one of the heaviest songs of RED’s career with pummeling guitars and impassioned screams.
RED’s softer, more contemplative songwriting is still preserved on the release, with the mournful “Darkest Part,” the desperate “Yours Again,” and the cautiously optimistic “Part That’s Holding On” being must-hear tracks.
Of Beauty and Rage, while being a hefty, immersive listen, does have one major blemish. With over fifteen songs and an hour-long run time, the album is not lacking in content. That being said, of Beauty and Rage feels a little bloated and it would be easy to imagine the album running a little more smoothly if cuts such as “The Forest,” “The Ever,” and “Ascent” were left off of the final track listing.
Still, of Beauty and Rage is a passionate and poignant outing that blurs the line between the heavenly and the hellish. The album benefits from RED’s returned embrace of strings, and aside from Innocence and Instinct, this is the most well-rounded and well-realized release from the band yet. Fans of grandiose, intense hard rock would be foolish to skip out on this record.
03. Shadow and Soul
04. Darkest Part
05. Fight To Forget
06. Of These Chains
07. Falling Sky
08. The Forest
09. Yours Again
10. What You Keep Alive
11. Gravity Lies
12. Take Me Over
13. The Ever
14. Part That’s Holding On
Run Time: 60:34
Release Date: February 24, 2015
Check out the song “Darkest Part” here.