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on February 5, 2013
I have been a pretty big fan of Red since their stellar debut. They are one of the last few remaining mainstream rock bands who still hold my interest, especially after discovering other lesser known bands like Katatonia, The Panic Division, Cyrenic, Dead Letter Circus, Novus Dae, The Birthday Massacre, etc., who seem to hold my attention more these days. On End Of Silence the highlights were 'Already Over', 'Let Go' and the beautiful 'Pieces'. On Innocence & Instinct (CD/DVD) the songs that impressed me most were 'Take It All Away', 'Forever' and 'Start Again'. And from Until We Have Faces the highlight was the absolutely gorgeous (and heartwrenching) ballad 'Hymn For The Missing', 'Lie To Me (Denial)' and 'Buried Beneath'. However, on this album they have definitely turned down the usage of the orchestras (which was one of the most distinctive elements that made Red so unique among male fronted mainstream rock bands...usually I had to go to female fronted bands like Within Temptation or Lunatica to get the orchestras included). I feel that cutting back the orchestras really hurt this album because it makes them sound almost like every other mainstream rock band out there. In fact, I believe you have to wait all the way until 'If We Only' (Track #7) to get to the first noticeable strings (if they were in earlier tracks then they were buried very deeply in the mix under the pounding/dominant drums). Oddly enough, my favorite song is most definitely the bonus track 'As You Go' because the chorus is quite melodic and memorable and it was a very unique sounding song. Fairly distant second and third places go to 'The Moment We Come Alive' and 'Hold Me Now'. Although truthfully, other than 'As You Go', nothing else really sticks out much to me. It's not a bad album, but Red has set the bar pretty high after their 3 prior albums, and sadly this album falls a little short. I'd rate it a 3.5 stars if it were possible.
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on February 5, 2013
I was so incredibly excited for this, I've been counting down the days for weeks. But now that it's here, I'm feeling a little let down. I completely agree with the one reviewer who made a comment about the lack of orchestral back up. Using string instruments in a powerful way used to be one of the things that set RED apart from other "modern" rock groups, and I was very disappointed to hear the loss of that element on many of the tracks on this album. In my opinion, only about half of the songs are true RED songs. The rest seem like mainstream rock that you can get from any other group, with more screaming than I ever remember them doing in the past.

I really enjoy "Perfect Life," I thought it was a good intro single to the album with a mix of the RED we know and a slight edge that was heard more on their early albums. But "Release The Panic," "Die For You," " Damage", and "Same Disease" are, to be honest, just too rough and have too much screaming for me to enjoy. I'm not necessarily saying that I dislike modern rock, but that I've come to expect a higher standard from RED, where even if they're forceful they still have musicianship behind them. I feel those tracks are lacking that musicianship we've come to know RED for.

The good news is that the rest of the album reminds me of the classic RED I first fell in love with. The melodies are powerful and yet still beautiful, the messages haunting and meaningful. This is what I've come to expect from RED.

I'm sure they felt they needed to appeal to all of their listeners, but I suggest previewing the songs carefully before deciding to buy. The wonderful thing about MP3 is being able to purchase only what you want!
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on February 9, 2013
RED released the band's third studio album Until We Have Faces in early 2011, and it dominated my playlists for months after. It was one of the most solid, polished hard rock releases that I could remember. It's true that there was nothing particularly unique about it, but it was the cream of the crop for radio rock. Still, there was a certain sense that the band had been creatively treading water for the past three albums, remaining in that comfortable niche they had carved out somewhere between Evanescence and Linkin Park. Consistency is okay, but stagnancy is worrisome, and I had the hope that RED's next effort would give them a chance to break into something new, rather than get trapped in a corner creatively.

Unfortunately for Release the Panic, RED's fourth studio album, the band has opted for creative devolution rather than evolution. All the requisite RED elements are here: Grinding, post-grunge style riffs? Check. Melancholy, frustrated lyrics? Check. Expert vocals provided courtesy of frontman Michael Barnes? Check. Strings? Check (sorta). But instead of being expanded upon, these elements are streamlined and simplified, resulting in a much blander sound. It's not bad, per se, just entirely unoriginal. The band did play around with some musical bells and whistles they haven't before, such as electronic sampling and (urgh) nu-metal, but these elements tend to bring down the music more than lift it up.

The title track gives mixed impressions straight out of the gate. Mike Barnes gives an excellent vocal performance here, growling like Ben Burnley over strong, driving guitar riffs. The song wouldn't have sounded out of place on Breaking Benjamin's album Saturate, in fact. And that's actually where the song loses its luster, because in comparison, it just doesn't hold up. The main riff is just lazily written, and could have been done by any third-rate post-hardcore band.

"Perfect Life", though, is where things go downhill, and is unfortunately representative of the album as a whole. This was actually the first single I heard before the album was released, and I instantly hated it. This isn't RED playing RED, it's RED playing arena rock. It's catchy, yeah. So is the common cold. And just like the common cold, after you live with it for a few days, you'll be entirely sick of it. If you need any proof of the blandness of a good chunk of Release the Panic, go to Youtube, pull up the fifth track, "Same Disease", and "Bottoms Up" by Nickelback. You may notice an eerie similarity.

RED did experiment a bit on this album, by which I mean Mike Barnes apparently stumbled across a copy of The Sickness and said, "Hey, this is still popular, right?" And thus "Damage" was written, an embarrassing chunk of nu-metal that brings up unpleasant memories from early 2000 that we'd all probably like to stuff back under the rug. "Die for You" commits another cardinal sin of music by playing with the wub-wub a little bit. In all honestly, the presence of electronic elements on this track isn't bad, but again, the music is simply bland. Had the band been more creative, this could have been a high point of the album. As it is, it simply sounds like they're doing a bad job of mimicking Linkin Park's style.

The album does have its high points. The track "If We Only" is fantastic, if only because it shows us just what RED could be doing to evolve their sound. After a positively metal opener with some explosive drum work, the strings come in to back an excellent post-grunge riff. While this sounds like typical RED fare, the band shows much more awareness of how to tie orchestral elements to hard rock. It sounds less like early RED, and more like Symphony X, of all things. You won't find stronger strings in any RED song to date. I love it!

The last three tracks are typical RED ballads. The fans will likely be appeased by these, as they would sound right at home on any of the previous albums. They don't stand up to say, "Already Over" or "Not Alone", but they're serviceable enough. And while I haven't heard the bonus tracks, many reviewers have showered particular praise on them. Needless to say, RED diehards may want to listen to this album in reverse.

SUMMARY

I've been a massive RED fan for a long time now, and would consistently point to their output as what the best of radio rock had to offer. Unfortunately, with Release the Panic, the band has stripped down their sound to the point where any band could write it. For fans who just want to rock out, this will likely satisfy, but anyone looking for any substance beyond that will have to look elsewhere. For a sample of the best the album has to offer, download "If We Only" and the title track.
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on February 6, 2013
In this CD there are two different sides of RED. In the first side Red chooses his more electronic side, the side that I don't like. That side that looked very little on their first two albums and a little more in the third. But on this CD, they give me a kick in the face from the start. The other side of the cd starts with the song "IF ONLY WE", a song more melodic but not forgetting the hard guitars in the style of his first and second cd. And from this one, all are in this style, the style that I like of RED. Ultimately, for me, the first part of the cd is to throw it away and the second is very good, but the second part of the cd can not help it: RELEASE THE PANIC is, for me, one of the disappointments of the year.
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on February 18, 2013
The cd sounds like pop, simplistic lyrics repetition choruses during the 1st half of the Cd. Tracks 1-5 are not good in my opinion and sound nothing like rock or how red should sound. Then confusingly enough tracks 6-10 are really good! More inline with what they should sound like.

I don't know now if this was pressure from the producers to put out more public friendly songs but I fear one of my favorite bands might be losing what made them original. Gave it 3 stars because not all songs were horrible, and half cd was good. When they come out with there next cd I wouldn't be surprised if the whole thing sounded like techno pop......
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on February 7, 2013
I've been a Red fan since I first heard Innocence & Instinct. After hearing that superb album, I went and bought End Of Silence. After listening to this album, it's official. The Red that released "Innocence & Instinct" no longer exists. While this album isn't terrible, I think it takes away almost all that made Red unique as a band. This is a classic Howard Benson special, pretty generic and bland as a whole. Some of the tracks here sound like Red Jumpsuit Apparatus meets Papa Roach. (Die For You, Same Disease) Some sound like Disturbed meets Escape The Fate. (If We Only, Release The Panic) Then we have Damage, a song that sounds like metalcore meets crap. The songs I just mentioned aren't all bad, in fact I even catch myself singing the choruses to Release The Panic and Die For You occasionally. However, I just feel that these songs just don't meet the standard set by Red's past work. Then we have songs like Perfect Life and Glass House. These two songs are some of the bands best offerings to date. Hold Me Now and So Far Away are both good songs worth the listen. Very emotional and powerful. That brings us to The Moment We Come Alive. This is kinda a blend of Take It All Away off I&I, and Already Over off EOS, but not as well done as either of those two. Still a good song I would recommend though.

Overall: This album isn't nearly as good as Innocence & Instinct or End Of Silence, but probably about equal with Until We Have Faces. (Their 3rd release) My main gripe with this album is this: WHERE ARE THE OCHESTRATIONS? You can hear a little sprinkled throughout the album, but nothing to the extent of their first two albums. That aspect singlehandedly takes away one of the best and most unique aspects of Red's sound. I also felt like this album didn't know what it wanted to be. Half is soft rock, half is bordering on heavy metal. Past Red albums have been coherent and easy to listen to from beginning to end. This one felt a little choppy and inconsistent. I blame the production for the confusion.

3.5 stars, so I'll round up to four. I'll listen to this album more and give it a chance to grow on me. On first listen, Until We Have Faces was very dissappointing. But after a couple plays I began to apprectiate the album more. I'm hoping this album has the same effect, so it can deserve it's four stars.

Don't let this review scare you, this album is still lightyears ahead of other mainstream rock bands. It just isn't as good as this band's past work. I would still recommend this album to people.

**UPDATE**

After doing a few more thorough listens, this album sadly drops to three stars. Even after 10-15 listens of the album, there's nothing in it that stands out. There's really nothing revolutionary or remarkable about it. Half the songs make me want to skip halfway through, which is a first for a Red album. This album just doesn't have the infectiousness that their past works have had. I've also noticed that the vocals on Same Disease and Die For You make me want to barf. The vocal delivery is way too poppy and raido-oriented. Mike has such a rich and haunting sound to his voice, and it gets lost sometimes in this album. Especially noticeable in these two tracks. I again blame the production for this shortcoming. I genuinely hope this band returns to Rob Graves or some producer that appreciates thought-out and good music above album sales. At this point I think I could've downloaded half the album and not missed much. Which pains me, because I thought this band was above that. However, there are still worthwhile tracks that will see heavy use in some of my playlists. For me, this release would have a much higher rating if I hadn't known of Red's past efforts. But it just isn't on par with what I was expecting.

**UPDATE TWO**

The more I listen, the less I appreciate the music. I rate albums by the number of songs I love. Since this album has ten tracks, and I only really like four of them, it goes to 2 stars. After prolonged listen, almost all of these songs are utterly forgettable. Even Perfect Life, which I originally liked, has become boring and slightly annoying. On the plus side, I have grown to appreciate If We Only. This and Glass House are really a cut above the rest of the album. They excel in terms of lyrical content and musicality. I especially love the strings in If We Only, and it's one of the few tracks where Mike sounds like his old self. I also miss some of the intricate and memorable guitar riffs. The music itself sounds really stripped-down in terms of technicality and intricacy. Go listen to Faceless (not the best song, but great intro riff), or Lie To Me, Fight Inside, Breathe Into Me, Watch You Crawl, Death Of Me, Confessions, Forever, Overtake You, or Shadows. These all have riffs I enjoy listening to, and can recreate in my head. So far, there are no guitar parts that stick with me or make me want to listen again. This is another first for a Red album. This is really sad, this album might not be so bad if I wasn't expecting something much better. This is a step back in every sense from previous albums. Aside from If We Only and Release The Panic, the screaming in the songs sounds forced, and it really doesn't add anything to the music too much. It feels like they threw screaming into radio-friendly tracks just to please their fans that prefer heavy music. I find the songs annoying, even with screaming.

Songs to download: Glass House, If We Only, Release The Panic, The Moment We Come Alive.

(Maybe Perfect Life, but may become annoying after a while. It did for me)

2 stars. Really saddening. Red is so much better than this. If you're new to Red, and are a fan of more pop-rock, get this album instead of previous releases. You'll probably really enjoy it, even if us hard-rock fans didn't. If you like Red's past work a lot, get the songs I mentioned just above. If you're new to Red, but a fan of hard rock, get any of their past three albums. All three are incredible.
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on March 30, 2015
Frst let me say, I buy easily $10,000 from Amazon every year and have never written a product review. That said, I'm so annoyed at all the negative comments from people, I thought that a little balance would be appropriate.

The reason that they said they did not like this album, is because they're comparing it to previous albums. This is the first CD I have purchased from RED and I think it's way better than the other albums I've heard. They simply like the older style which in my opinion is a watered down version of Release the Panic.

You could also say that this is the album they finally kick it into high gear and let some adrenaline out. I guess for some people if it's too loud, they're just too old! It's a cliche statement, but the truth is there are different styles for different people.

If you grow up with meat and potatoes, you probably don't like super spicy food. if you grow up with spicy food, everything else tastes bland.

In my opinion, if this style was what their first few albums were like, then they changed to what has actually been there first style of music, you would have just as many people say that they sold out and went mainstream. There would just be a little different fan base, possibly even bigger and some current fans wouldn't be fans.

Unfortunately, most people that review this album are coming from the perspective of their other work. Therefore the reviews reflect the opinions of a demographic unlike that which would be their fan base if they've always produced music like Release the Panic.

I wouldn't say the other music was bad at all, I liked it. I just prefer Release the Panic and would be just as annoyed if they changed from what I like to something else.

So to all the long term RED fans I would say, give it a chance and understand it will be kind of like a different band. Just don't shoot it down in the reviews, lots of people will love it and you're only hurting the band. People is never heard RED might be turned off by your negativity and they loose sales.
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on March 1, 2013
I've been a hardcore fan of this group since the first album. They had a unique sound, their songs were meaningful without being preachy, they had this awesome symphonic rock vibe going on and didn't seem to care who thought what about them. Now onto this album.

While the album isn't AWEFUL as far as rock is concerned, it is awful as far as Red is concerned. They have taken a much more "produced" approach to the album. The voices always have some sort of auto-tune/out of phase something or another, and the biggest deal to me NO STRINGS! What happened to the strings in all of your songs? Some of my favorite moments in previous albums were when The guitars would scream, the drums would bang, and the strings would swell beneath it all adding this epic orchestral sound to an already badass group! The closest we get to that in this album is on the track "If We Only" and guess what, they aren't even real strings, they're synth pads. The piano is also synth too, but that isn't that big a deal, as it makes a very small appearance in this album.

With that being said there are a few songs that will still get you excited, and will have tastes of Red that really got the blood pumping in albums past. A couple of my favorites being "Release the Panic", "If We Only", and "Damages". Beyond that I wasn't all that impressed with the content.

All in all this album seems to be a lot more hard rock then previous ones, which doesn't really bother me other then the fact that they now strike a very strong resemblance to Breaking Benjamin in sound. I'm just sad to see that unique sound go, and here them take a very mainstream approach to music. What made them different is how they stood out, and in my opinion, this album is just like every other rock album I've listened to. It's a sad truth, but if they continue in this trend they'll fade and disappear into a sea of other mundane predictable mainstream garbage.
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on March 25, 2013
I love Red and this is a good cd with some really good songs on it. It's not the Red I knew before though. Definitely a different sound and I miss the instrumental punch that made them different than the rest. The combined hard core rock with piano and strings was just something super special. This one is missing that punch.
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on February 9, 2013
I am a huge fan so I bought the CD as soon as it came out. There are a few songs that are really good but overall, this CD is not as good as their earlier works. It's OK but it didn't have that WOW factor.
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