Until We Have Faces
Red’s muscular brand of Christian rock has found favor among believers and secular fans alike. This time, vocalist Michael Barnes leads his comrades through a spiritual war zone as guitarist Anthony Armstrong lays down ferocious riffage and newly recruited drummer Joe Rickard applies punishing beats. Taking its title from a C.S. Lewis novel, the album traces a quest for personal identity amidst the conflict and chaos of the mortal world. Barnes unleashes throat-searing growls on such blistering tracks like “Feed the Machine,” “Outside” and “Faceless,” matching the intensity of the lyrics. The defiant “Who We Are” is an especially searing chunk of nü-metal, defined by Armstrong’s serrated axemanship. Until We Have Faces has more to offer than continuous aggression, however. The atmospheric, synthesizer-driven “Not Alone” is an eloquent number sung from the viewpoint of the Savior. The album closer “Hymn for the Missing” achieves a melancholy grandeur as it mourns the loss of a loved one amidst piano and strings.