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Release the Panic (Deluxe Edition)

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iTunes Review

The hard-hitting Nashville outfit follow-up the successful Until We Have Faces with Release the Panic. Produced by Howard Benson (Daughtry, My Chemical Romance, Bon Jovi), the new album pits their melodic sensibilities against passionate aggression and the results are glorious on "Perfect Life." Here vocalist Mike Barnes rages against false hopes and dreams with a stinging clarity. The full-length album is available to pre-order now.

Customer Reviews

Back-loaded and a step backward

Red has had an interesting career trajectory of a band. Its debut album End of Silence immediately gained the band recognition with songs such as “Breathe into Me”, “Pieces”, “Already Over”, “Break Me Down”, and “Let Go”, the former two perhaps the best two songs in their discography. However, the band’s sophomore album, Innocence and Instinct, was perhaps the most well-rounded and consistently excellent work Red has ever done. The album hits with no fewer than 8 consecutive outstanding tracks such as “Fight Inside”, “Death of Me”, “Mystery of You”, “Never Be the Same”, and “Shadows”, plus the popular bonus track “Forever." It was probably inevitable, but their third album Until We Have Faces was something of a letdown from the first two works, though it had its highlights. Tracks such as “Let It Burn”, “Lie to Me”, and “Not Alone” combatted more sanitized songs such as “Faceless."

For Red’s fourth album, they teamed up with infamous producer Howard Benson, who has earned something of a reputation for angering bands’ fan bases with his pop-oriented, vocal-emphasizing, instrument-dampening, song-shortening inclinations which give a shiny but lifeless sheen to albums. Other bands such as Skillet, Hoobastank, SafetySuit, 3 Doors Down, and Three Days Grace have recently released albums produced by Benson that have correlated with distinct downturns in quality.

Release the Panic is a back-loaded album. The first half sounds hardly like Red and was most clearly Benson-ized. The album has a dearth of strings compared to other Red albums; strings don’t show up until the seventh track, and this clearly harms the record. Some will say that Red is going another direction, but I don’t really see that; there are a few tracks with some experimentation, but mostly all I see is a less developed, less intricate, more rushed derivation of Red’s formula. Many songs clock in at right about three minutes, and the album as a whole breezes by at incredible speed at 34 minutes long. Song-by-song, not including remixes:

1. Release the Panic (5/10): The first track on the record is rather heavy, though not the heaviest on the album. While the chorus is moderately catchy, the song just feels lifeless and shallow. Its brevity does no favors either, a theme that runs through many of the songs on RtP.

2. Perfect Life (7/10): A fairly catchy single that manages to be something of an earworm, but nevertheless lacks life. The lack of strings really does this song in, and its simplistic guitars and “yeah yeahs” just make this song sound like a pop-rock creation with Benson written all over it. A better, longer bridge could have saved the song, but once again, with the song clocking in less than three minutes, it breezes by.

3. Die for You (6/10): Some relatively new ground for Red here as the song pulses with a groovy beat, but this brief song again suffers from a lack of development and fleshing out. The lyrics are somewhat confusing and not particularly notable otherwise. Despite its catchiness, the song is pretty forgettable.

4. Damage (3/10): A very heavy song, the heaviest on the record. Demonstrates a bit of the nu metal vibe that Red exhibited early on in their career, but this is another song that desperately needs strings or something going on to give it some life. It has a few good screams, but no real breakdowns or other metal staples to make it memorable.

5. Same Disease (2/10): The most forgettable song on the album. I’m not sure what it’s trying to say or do. Perhaps this is one case where the short length of the song is a mercy rather than a curse.

6. Hold Me Now (8/10): Probably the turning point on the album, and the first real ballad. Incorporates some piano for the first time on the album, the relatively soft vocals are a welcome reprieve, and it’s the first song that feels like it was given the length it needs to develop properly. Definitely could benefit from some strings and less awkward lyrics at times, and as far as Red ballads go it can’t hold a candle to Pieces, Never Be the Same, or Hymn for the Missing, but it’s one of the top three songs on the album.

7. If We Only (9/10): Strings? Could it be? Yes, finally a song that is unequivocally Red. This song has pretty heavy verses and a delightfully melodic chorus, all framed by the strings you’ve come to expect with Red. This is the first song on the album that felt like it could have been included on an earlier album without any problems and is a clear standout on the record. It has its flaws, but it just feels right, unlike so many others on the album.

8. So Far Away (9/10): A mid-tempo rock song that is a bit more Christian-oriented than the previous songs. Probably the best lyrics the album has to offer, and would make a decent radio single. It doesn’t feel nearly as rushed as the songs from the first half of the album, though it could benefit from some strings.

9. Glass House (8/10): The second song on the record with backing strings, and it is the second consecutive mid-tempo rocker with a Christian focus. The chorus and melody aren’t quite as well done as on So Far Away, but it’s an enjoyable listen.

10. The Moment We Come Alive (8/10): The last song on the regular version of the album is another piano- and string-laced mid-tempo rock song that certainly has the feel of an album closer. The chorus isn’t perfect, other than the last line it’s a bit boring in fact, but it has some life and feeling behind it, especially near the end of the song.

11. Love Will Leave a Mark (6/10): Technically the shortest song that Red gives us this time around, Love Will Leave a Mark harkens back to the first half of the album both in tone and quality, but coming after a series of slower songs makes it stand out more. It’s ok but, again, forgettable.

12. As You Go (8/10): Conversely, this is the longest non-remix song on the album. A bit of a different feel for Red, but its slow pace and Christian-tinged lyrics make for a good and notable listen.


Dont listen to the lukewarm fans, this band still has the same passion and influence theyve always had. True fans will buy this!

I miss the old RED

I am absolutely obsessed with RED and was so excited for the album until I heard it.. It's overly produced; I can't even hear the beautiful vocals Mike and the Armstrong's have. Lyrically, it's not terrible, but I miss the RED that just enjoyed being themselves. Until We Have Faces was all about having your own identity and not being ashamed of it, yet RED went a little "poppy" on us. I love RED, I always will, but this, by far, is my least favorite album.


Formed: 2004 in Nashville, TN

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Christian-based post-grunge outfit Red first got their start in Pennsylvania playing contemporary Christian covers to area youth groups. They soon grew tired of pop songs, however, and began crafting their own hard-edged rock tunes that often confronted personal issues from their lives. According to lead singer Mike Barnes, the name Red was chosen as a symbol "for the blood of Christ and what it represents: passion, pain, but ultimately, redemption." Comprised of Barnes, Jasen Rauch (guitar), Hayden...
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Release the Panic (Deluxe Edition), Red
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