Mar 10, 2011 CD Reviews
Posted by wiegmake
“Until We Have Faces”
11 tracks, 46 minutes
Grade – A
In 2009, Red’s sophomore album, ‘Innocence and Instinct’ brought the rock band to the forefront of Christian music with its cryptic lyrics and strong guitar-driven melodies. Two years later, with the announcement of a third album, the question then became ‘could the new album meet the standard set by Innocence and Instinct?’ The answer in a word – definitely.
The first track on ‘Until We Have Faces’ is “Feed The Machine”, which is one of the strongest tracks on the album. It sounds much like something that would have fit well on ‘Innocence and Instinct’, with it’s strong guitars and growling background vocals. The lyrics are considerably dark, even for Red, but at the same time maintain a relatability that is carried through the album. It ends on a surprisingly peaceful, yet haunting fade straight into “Faceless”, another one of the more memorable tracks. As title tracks sometimes tend to be written to fit a particular theme, I was pleasantly surprised that “Faceless” seemed to create a theme all its own. With a straight-up rock sound and smoother vocals than the first track. The lyrics of the chorus sum up the album’s them well: ‘A part of me is dead, need You to live again, can You replace this? I’m hollow, hollow and faceless.’ From there, the album takes a bit of a slightly simpler turn with the next two songs “Lie To Me (Denial)” and “Let It Burn”, both of which are good, but less memorable than several of the other songs. “Buried Beneath” is a bit quieter, and carries a message of desperation ‘I’m finally breaking, so where are You now? … pull me out before I am buried beneath.’ The next few songs are good, but lose a bit of the energy and diversity of the first few tracks. “The Best Is Yet To Come” brings back the interest with more of a ballad sound that leads perfectly into the closing track “Hymn For The Missing.” it ends the album with a peaceful, yet somewhat hopeless feel.
Musically, ‘Until We Have Faces’ is more an extension of ‘Innocence and Insinct’ as opposed to a follow-up. It has strong guitars and melodies and the same rough edges listeners have come to expect from Red. Lyrically, however, the band has delved deeper and darker than before. The album’s theme of being faceless and struggling to find your true identity is easily relatable for most listeners, and although by the first song it may seem like a hopeless search, “Not Alone” gives the glimmer of reassurance with it’s chorus from God’s point of view ‘I am with you, I will carry you through it all, I will catch you when you feel like letting go.’
Although at first I was unsure if ‘Until We Have Faces’ could measure up to the standards set by Red’s previous two releases, I was pleasantly surprised by how far it exceeded expectations. It will definitely go down as the next installment of Red’s strong musical record.