When it comes to film the term Rated R is synonymous with adult content and/or themes that can include a number of things deemed not suitable for children under a certain. In regard to Red the term Rated R is a tongue in cheek play on words as their content is not anything of adult nature by any means. In fact, it is the exact opposite as Red has been known to lean heavily on their faith based background when it comes to their themes and lyricism. It may not be as blatant as bands like For Today, War of Ages or even Skillet, but the roots are there.
With the release of Rated R the band continues to traverse familiar territory musically speaking as they have found a niche with their sound and continued to carve out their own space. To some this could seem mildly formulaic, but the band still manages to experiment in minute aspects that adds some flair to their latest endeavor.
Given that the term Rated R typically comes with a warning it is rather fitting that Red kicks off the album with an audible tone that is often affiliated with incoming warning. However, instead of a warning the album kicks in to high gear with “Surrogates” (which is also the latest single). It is a rather visceral track that showcases the bands ability to embrace a more aggressive sound/approach. “Your Devil Is A Ghost” follows and is a rather drastic downshift from “Surrogates” but it quickly shows the band’s ability to play to both ends of the musical spectrum with minimal ease. “Minus It All” moves things back to the heavier elements, but subtly finds the medium between the two prior tracks.
“Cold World” takes a more melancholic approach initially before adding in heavier musical elements. In the midst of it all [Michael] Barnes vocals continue to soar on the higher ends when he is able to find that perfect melodic tone that fits so well within their musical construct. “Tell Me How To Say Goodbye” falls more in to the ballad category than other tracks on the album, but it is a category that Red has been able to pull off successfully time and again for the majority of their career. It is well crafted, but it is the one definitive moment on the album where things feel expected rather than organic. “The Suffering” shifts things back to a heavier trajectory but eases in to it so it is not so abrasive against “Tell Me How To Say Goodbye.”
“Still Bleeding” rounds out the middle segment of the album and keeps things in that previously mentioned medium between heavy and light and embraces elements from both ends of the spectrum. “Our Time Will Come” and “Last Forever” stay within this constant with “Last Forever” having a distinct bass tone that feels much more prominent than on any other track on the rest of the album. “Emergency” closes out the album and drives back the sense of urgency that was center stage in the album’s opener as the track and album fade in to their final seconds that fittingly include more audible warning sounds bringing the album full circle.
In summation, Rated R is an album that is done well even if it is slightly formulaic in parts. Red is not new to the scene and they continue to produce material that doesn’t falter from the sound and approach that has helped pave the road for the duration of their career. They are as cohesive as ever and manage to push the boundaries a bit on the heavier side than some bands they are commonly compared to (i.e. Skillet).
Rated R is out now via Red Entertainment and is available on all major streaming and digital platforms. In addition, you can purchase physical copies via the band’s webstore.