Challenging believers in Jesus to think and act based on Bible truth.

Release the Panic (Red) – Here’s an album that points you forward.

It’s not every day that your favorite band comes out with a new album.  So, of course I have something to say.  Overall, I was really afraid of the change when I heard the first two songs pre-released.  But after hearing the album, there is much positive to point out.

Forward.  That’s a word that describes this album in two ways.  This band is looking forward, and this band’s themes help you look forward.

1. The album’s theme – Release the Panic.  You can look forward without fear.

I like the album as an art form.  I think the last album, Until We Have Faces, was an excellent album with a tight knit theme that ran throughout the songs.  This is the first of Red’s albums that actually has a title track.

“Release the Panic” is a driving, heavy title track that opens the album up with some thunder.  Lyrically, it sets the tone that panic is not something that should consume.  I remember the band’s Facebook interactions stating that it was based on Deuteronomy (31:6 in the NLT I believe), where the Israelites are encouraged not to panic.  In that sense the album is anti-fear.

In many ways, the lyrics are classic Red, reaching to the core of who we are as humans.  Fear, failure, doubt, shame, helplessness, desperation are all addressed and found wanting in this album compared the hope of moving forward.  Here are a few examples:

From “If We Only”: If we only can get over, All the tears we’ve cried, All the wasted pride, If we only, if we only could just face the truth, Give up the fight and let it die

From “Hold Me Now”: Hold me now, till the fear is leaving, I am barely breathing . . .

From “Glass House”: You alone, You can see right through this glass house we call home, You alone, You can take away the pain

Pictures of Christ are all over this album, killing fear and breathing hope.  Classic Red.

2. This album is about change: Red is moving forward. 

New producer Howard Benson is a sign that Red WANTED to go in a different direction. He’s worked with the likes of P.O.D., Flyleaf, Daughtry, Third Day, Skillet, and many others. Seemingly unknown to whining fans, please remember the band makes choices about how albums sound.  It’s not Howard Benson’s fault this album sounds the way it does.  It sounds a lot like Red, but it also sounds refreshingly different.  “Die for you”, probably my favorite track on the album, sounds like nothing Red has ever produced.  It’s still a hard song, but the new sounds make for an outstanding track with lots of energy and a clear message.

3. Let’s not mess around.  Michael Barnes is simply a top class vocalist.

It really seems there isn’t much he can’t do.  Range, style, emotion. He sounds crisp, but if we do a bit of research on Howard Benson, we should know why.  Here’s a quote from the producer from his Wikipedia page:

“The main focus for me, you know, is on the songs, and the lyrics and the vocals. I don’t let anybody in the studio when I’m doing vocals. I do them myself. No one’s allowed in. That’s like, to me, where I really get the impact of the record across . . .”

With a producer who values vocals, it’s no surprise.  But as a novice of music and a fan of Red, I don’t think Barnes has sounded better.

4. Despite the new direction, the songs are top quality.

There aren’t many songs on this album that are your classic “throwaway” songs that seem to take up space on every album. Overall, I think this is the album that has the highest quality overall.  There may be fewer standout songs, but overall the quality is highest in my opinion.


For me: Forward.  Red is moving forward.  This is an album that helps any listener address the depths of life and move forward.  Three things I look for from Red: Driving energetic music, lyrics full of hope and the reality of the human condition, and many pictures of life in Christ.  Check, check, check. 4.5 out of 5 stars from me!


  1. […] not every day your favorite band comes out with a new album.  Here’s my review of Red’s latest.  It was released last week. It really is a good album and I was surprised by […]

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