Red’s new album, Release the Panic will come as a shock upon first listen for some longtime fans of the band. The guys from Red have admitted as much, also claiming that they’ve released the same album three times, and it was time to do something different. The first step in order to do this was to hire a different producer. After their first three albums were produced by Rob Graves Red decided to work on their new record with Howard Benson.
“It was a great process,” said Red guitarist Anthony Armstrong in a recent interview with Alternative Addiction. “It was a different approach for us. We went with him with the idea that we wanted to do something a little different. We decided we didn’t want to stray too far from the stuff we’d done in the past, but we wanted to do something that we wanted to do creatively.”
Working with Howard Benson isn’t exactly an innovative move. Benson and his team have produced more notable records than almost anybody else over the past ten years. He was the most sought after producer in the industry at one time. Even though things have cooled down for Benson, he’s still held in high regard in the industry. Speaking with Armstrong, the guitarist said that one of the reasons that Red working with Benson and his team was such a good move was because of the chemistry that the two parties built together.
“He always takes a hands-on approach to vocals but we worked with his engineers on a lot of things too. Mike Plotnikoff did the guitars and bass with us and he engineered the drums, but Howard was there for every bit of the process. Traditionally, Howard’s only there for the vocals, but we meshed really well with them and it worked out great. There was good chemistry there, and we had a lot of fun making the record.”
Upon first listen of the album, Release the Panic has some noticeable differences. There’s a lot of programming, especially when you consider Red’s track record. It’s also less wordy than previous albums, and there’s a greater focus on the music than the lyrics. All of these things were pointed out by Armstrong.
“We want people to understand that we’re still a rock band, there are some poppier elements on this record that our fans aren’t used to. It’s one of those records that was hard for me to adopt the sound that we went with because we’ve just known a certain thing for three record cycles. The more songs that came along and the more we heard them in their finished form, we thought they were amazing. The first song (on the album) just sets it off. It’s real simple and straight-forward, it doesn’t have a lot of words. We wanted to get to the point- it’s supposed to be a state of panic and there’s not a lot to do in a state of panic but scream,” noted the Red guitarist.
Let’s be very clear about one thing- modern rock as we know it has changed and the next generation of artists has yet to be chosen. Everyone who was good, or even great, as far back as 2007 isn’t making music the same way anymore- at the very least their not making the music the same way anymore. Three Days Grace is going through a big change, who knows if they’ll survive. Nickelback is hated by more than they’re loved by these days. There are very few survivors of the shift; 3 Doors Down, Seether and yes, Red can be put in that group. Who’s left is up in the air, but that number is more than likely in the single digits. With all of this going on, we asked Anthony Armstrong if he and the band ever think about Red’s legacy.
“We’ve talked about that a lot. That’s something that’s more important to us than selling records. At the end of the day, we believe that anything that happens is what God’s allowed to happen. If we’re selling records, that’s great. If we have a career, that’s great too. The connections that we’ve made through the music and the stories that we’ve heard along with the struggles we’ve seen people get through, that’s what made this whole thing special. However long we go, 10, 15, maybe 20 years, we want to be able to look back and say we made an impact on people.”
Red’s Release the Panic is the group’s fourth studio album. It’s out and available now.