‘Declaration’ album review
genre: hard rock
release date: April 3, 2020
star rating: five out of five
review by Noah Yager
Red has returned, and they’ve got something to say. Declaration is Red’s first LP since becoming an independent band, which was a one-time, crowd-funded effort of $100,000. Everything about this album exudes purpose. That purpose comes into play even in the album’s title. Naming their first independent release Declaration, as in a “Declaration of Independence,” is a cool play on words, and I appreciate that concept.
This is the heaviest Red album I’ve ever heard, and it’s fantastic. There’s literally screaming in every song. Even thematically, this album is heavy, with either a use of the word war, or some sort of word for violence in each song. And the instrumentation is well-crafted as well. There is a great mix of strings and electronic sounds to go along with the hard rock. I personally feel that Red’s electronic side has always been done really well, so I’m glad they’ve kept it around. It’s also worth mentioning that Red added Dan Johnson on drums as part of their lineup, and the drumming is on-point.
Every song is great in its own way. My personal favorites are “Infidel,” “Cauterize,” “Float,” “The Victim,” and “Only Fight.” “Infidel,” specifically, feels like it’s dying to be played live, with Michael Barnes screaming, “I wanna hear you scream!” And “Float” is probably the heaviest Red song to date (aside from maybe “Damage” from Release The Panic), with screaming pretty much through the whole song. The softer side of Declaration would be songs “The War We Made,” “Sever,” and “From The Ashes.” These songs provide a nice balance to the heavy songs and aren’t even that soft, as far as soft songs go.
Declaration has everything I wanted in a Red album. It’s hard and well-made rock, and there’s nothing wrong with that. In previous years, I’ve seen a pattern with bands that they tend to lose their harder sound the longer they’ve been around, and it’s refreshing to hear a band like Red not only making a quality rock album, but a heavy one at that. What was it that Red had to say? They’re back on their own terms and here to stay!
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