Christian rock album battles heavy metal release

Monday , March 18, 2013 - 9:43 AM

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Alex Esplin

Today we’re going head-to-head with two bands who have recently released No. 1-selling CDs.

First up is our winner from a previous go-around, the Christian rock group Red from Nashville, which, on Feb. 5, released its fourth studio album, titled “Release the Panic.”

I’m comparing “Release the Panic” track-for-track against “Temper Temper,” the fourth studio album by the Welsh heavy metal band Bullet for My Valentine. Thisalbum was released on Feb. 12, just two days before Valentine’s Day. A coincidence? I think not.

Here are the songs from both albums broken down into three categories: soft tracks, harder tracks and bonus tracks. Each song is rated on a score of 1 to 10, with 10 being best.

Soft tracks

• “Release the Panic”

1. “Hold Me Now”: This is a pretty good softer song from Red but it’s not the best. Rating: 6.

2. “So Far Away”: This song is either about the band’s love for God, or a relationship; either way it’s better than “Hold Me Now.” Rating: 7.

3. “Glass House”: Picking up the pace a little bit compared to the first two tracks, but overall this one is not any better. Rating: 6.

4. “The Moment We Come Alive”: This piano ballad is Red’s best soft song on this new album. Rating: 8.

5. “As You Go”: This track is kind of like “So Far Away” in that I can’t tell whether it’s about a relationship, or about God. Rating: 7.

• “Temper Temper”

1. “P.O.W.”: Bullet for My Valentine has a song like this on all of their records. This has a “Heart Burst into Fire” feel to it, but overall this is one of their best softer tracks to date. Rating: 8.

2. “Dead To the World”: The lyrics to this song were cowritten by Chris Jericho from the heavy metal band Fozzy; the collaboration created a sound for BFMV that I haven’t heard in earlier releases. The guitar solo in the bridge of the song sounds like something from the band Avenged Sevenfold. Rating: 7.

Harder tracks:

• “Release the Panic”

1. “ Release the Panic”: The first single for the album, this is Red’s hardest song to date. Rating: 9.

2. “Perfect Life”: The album’s second single has a catchy tune and is the slowest harder song on the album. Rating: 7.

3. “Die For You”: I’m sure this song has religious undertones, as do most of this band’s songs, but it also shows off the new sound the band has chosen for this record. This is relying less on symphonic string instruments and more on a traditional rock band sound. Rating: 8.

4. “Damage”: This is the heaviest and most repetitive song on the record. Rating: 6.

5. “Same Disease”: One of the better harder songs on the album; it’s slightly repetitive but nothing like “Damage.” Rating: 7.

6. “If We Only”: I haven’t a clue what this song is about, but the breakdowns and instrumental work are something that fans of the band’s most popular singles, “Breathe into Me” and “Death of Me,” have been waiting for. This is also the only song, except the bonus track, to feature symphonic string instruments. Rating: 8.

7. “Love Will Leave a Mark”: This song’s lyrics don’t confuse me because I am sure this one is about a relationship. Rating: 7.

• “Temper Temper”

1. “Breaking Point”: Musically, this song is a perfect cross between “Pleasure and Pain” and “Begging for Mercy” from the bands’ previous record, “Fever.” Rating: 9.

2. “Truth Hurts”: This song was a bit odd to me at first but over time it has grown on me. Rating: 7.

3. “Temper, Temper”: The album’s first single and title track, this song is about getting angry. Rating: 8.

4. “Dirty Little Secret”: Fast-paced everywhere except the verses, when the song switches to a very slow pace. In the bridge can be heard a very eerie piano tune that makes me keep the lights on at night. Rating: 8.

5. “Leech”: One of the better songs on the record, this sounds similar to a lot of the songs on “Fever.” Rating: 8.

6. “Riot”: The album’s second single, this one got a very poor reception among critics and fans alike. Rating: 7.

7. “Saints & Sinners”: One of my favorite BFMV tracks ever; this song reminds me musically of “Disappear” from the band’s second album. Rating: 9.

8. “Tears Don’t Fall (Part 2)”: That’s right, this is a sequel to the original song featuring a more emotionally advanced side of the same topic. Musically this song is like they took all the instrumental and vocal parts of the original, and rewrote them to evolve with their sound. This is a brave move for any group to make. Rating: 9.

9. “Livin’ Life (On the Edge of a Knife)”: One of the heaviest songs I’ve ever heard on this topic, the guitars scream the utter urgency of the situation unfolding in the song, which deals with self harm, suicide and depression. Rating: 8.

Each album has bonus tracks which I rate 10 for “Release the Panic” and a total of 16 for the two on “Temper Temper.” When you total up all the tracks, “Release the Panic” scores 96 out of 130 and “Temper Temper” wins at 104.

Both albums are different in all the right ways. Red’s is harder and less symphonic while BFMV’s new album sounds like everything good they’ve done in the past with a general musical progression. Red wanted to try something different, which I applaud them for, but it wasn’t enough for them to win this time around.

Alex Esplin is a senior at Dorius Academy. Email him at fish_head_o7@comcast.net.

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