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Red- Of Beauty And Rage reviewAngryByrd Now that I'm finally done with my NIN reviews, I can finally get back to reviewing some newer stuff. I've been stuck in the 80's and 90's with a lot of my reviews, so I figured I'd review one of my favorite albums so far this year. Of Beauty and Rage is the 5th studio album by one of my favorite bands of all time, Red. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Red, Red are a post grunge group who combine Breaking Benjamin-like alt-rock with cinematic elements and great atmospheres. Their songs are full of deep guitar and piano arrangements and soaring performances from vocalist Michael Barnes. Every single one of their albums is amazing in its own way, and this one is definitely no exception.
One of the defining characteristics of this album is that it takes a much more cinematic approach to Red's already cinematic style. It's not quite Starset or Dream Theater Level, but it's really close. The album is over an hour long, and contains an intro, outro, and interlude. The actual songs on the album are slightly longer than most of Red's previous songs, and while some do simply hang around the 3 or 4 minute mark, some of the songs get really close to hitting six minutes. The intense dynamics and strings that Red have always made use of have a huge presence on this album. With all of these cinematic qualities, it's sort of like the album is a soundtrack to itself. The incredible atmosphere and intense songwriting make every song very enjoyable in it's own way. The album peaks cinematically with tracks like Falling Sky, Shadow and Soul, and The Ever, but every song has its moments.
Like most previous Red albums, there is an extreme amount of emotion, but this album takes it to a whole new level. Michael Barnes completely owns the vocals on this album as he falsettos and screams his way through the firing guitars and driving strings. Also, this album is probably Michael Barnes' best vocal performance to date! This combined with the beautifully dark lyrics of the album makes something that is truly memorable. I will say, this is one of the first albums in a long time that really gives me chills hearing it. There is also a ton of fluctuation along the lines of heaviness and songwriting. Among the cast of chilling rock songs, soft songs (Of These Chains), heavier songs (Gravity Lies), and even dancy songs (Take Me Over) come to make the album a very fresh experience that will definitely hold your attention. There really isn't a boring moment on this album!
My favorite song on the album is a toss up between Darkest Part and Falling Sky. Both of these are roller-coaster-like songs that are full of beautiful lyrics, absolutely amazing vocals, and instrumentation that is beyond comprehension. I will not be forgetting these songs (or anything else on the album) anytime soon! If I had to pick a least favorite song from this album, it would be Part That's Holding On, which is still a stunning song.
Of Beauty And Rage is definitely one of the best albums this year, and this decade for that matter. Great albums like this are what happen when amazing musicians release all they have and put everything forward to make the best thing they can make. This album is worth buying at first sight and listening to whenever the opportunity arises. I give Of Beauty and Rage a 10/10. This album is an amazing work that I think anyone would get quite a bit of enjoyment out of.
New Lamb of God album out now - will you review that? - IronSabbathPriest