Acknowledging my own brokenness has never been so encouraging or melodic.
With their third album, “Until We Have Faces,” “Red” has added to the success of their previous albums with an even strong journey into the mixture of ballads and hard rock.
For those of you who have never heard of “Red,” you are missing out on one of the best modern bands Christian rock has to offer. Their 2006 debut album “The End of Silence” came out of nowhere to become one of the best albums that the Christian music scene had to offer that year. “Already Over” and “Break Me Down” used powerful chords and even more powerful lyrics to capture and inspire a generation.
This connection is what makes the new album even a step above their successful debut five years ago. Even as someone who shies away from the harder music scene, I’d rather have someone singing understandably than screaming what I assume to be English, the beauty and power intertwined within the album’s tracks are tearful and inspiring.
The best ballad on the track, “Let it Burn,” says “I watch the city burn / These dreams like ashes float away / Your voice I never heard /Only silence.” The haunting vocals match poignantly with the despondency of the lyrics, questioning just how long the pain can last before it all “burns down.” The inspiration beyond this comes through as the title is repeated to the ended, reminding listeners to let go of those things that perhaps have been causing pain before.
Later in the album, “Not Alone” tells everyone just that. The beautiful vocals cry out time and time again that “I am with you / I will carry you through it all /I won’t leave you /I will catch you.”
Meanwhile, the strongest rock song on the album, “Faceless,” makes me stare into myself, view my own inadequacies in ways that tear down and build up at the same instance. The lyrics, “I’m not myself /Feel like I’m someone else / Fallen and faceless /So hollow, hollow inside,” call for an infusion of Christ into an otherwise bleak existence, the to the point where the song can at times create a more sobering attitude. Yet, the band offers hope from track to track, inspiring the integration of Christ to add life to all facets of daily living.
The ability “Red” has to meld such seemingly depressing lyrics into an album of encouraging, challenging and quality music makes them one of the top Christian rock bands out there. As much as I enjoyed the music of “Audio Adrenaline” and “DC Talk” in my younger days, my tastes have ventured elsewhere in search of better pastures since realizing my music palate was lacking.
“Until We Have Faces” has added a bit of faith for the ability for bands to meld the Christian ethics with strong music. Last year, a glorious new CD from “House of Heroes” and a second attempt by personal favorite “Children 18:3” brought me back into the Outer Rim territories of the genre, but I may dare to admit that my interest has returned.
Underneath all of the underachieving “Hawk Nelson”s that the Christian music industry has to offer, it would appear that there is some depth mixed in with the eternally powerful meaning.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say that this third album is better than their debut effort. It may perhaps not even be as good as their sophomore attempt, “Innocence & Instinct.”
Yet, “Until We Have Faces” gives at least one reason for listeners to stick with Christian music and is a must own for those of us who don’t listen to 96.5.