Excuse me. Might I have a few minutes of your time today to talk to you about our future lords and saviours of rock, Red Sun Rising?
In a lot of circles, they say rock is dead. I can see why an outsider would say that, compared to say the level of popularity it used to have, especially compared to pop and rap music. However, if take away the disposable product of commercial music and strip it back to its raw essence, real actual rock music is having a banner year. Among the best releases to come down the pike and across my earphones has been Red Sun Rising and their new album, Thread (Razor & Tie).
Thread is a masterclass level of songwriting and a clear advance for the band from their last release Polyester Zeal (also Razor & Tie). While that album was impressive for a major label début (they have two other indie full-lengths and two EPs) and the band has worked tirelessly on the road growing their fan base, this new album is phenomenal start to finish. While not reinventing the wheel, every song has a style and personality all its own. They clearly spent a lot of time working on these tracks to make them special and the production team of producer Matt Hyde (Deftones, AFI, Porno For Pyros, Slayer) and mixer by Jay Ruston (Anthrax, Stone Sour) turned in a sparkling sounding release.
Starting with opener ‘Fascination’, the album takes the unconventional meandering guitar lick and turns it into a simmering powerhouse of a rock song. Vocalist Mike Protich and his incredible voice is everything, calling to mind all the greats the genre has ever seen. In this one song, he showed he can croon like a balladeer, but also bring the gravitas and deliver a phrase like a legend. ‘Left For Dead’ is a mid-tempo track that starts off sunny and then goes into some Stone Temple Pilots/Beatles modal changes with a strong chorus. The début single ‘Deathwish’ has got the riffs and catchy hooks that have made it a smash on satellite radio. The start and stop tempos are slick and will make you bang your head and rock out. The lyrics are also memorable since for some reason the line “Even the Devil finds love, unless you’re too late…” has stuck with me since I have first heard it.
The depth and quality of this album is what is most impressive and the entire band and their performances are exceptional. The band writes songs that would seem to come from grizzled, wizened veterans of life, and to an extent, this is what this band is growing into. ‘Stealing Life’ is neither totally an anthemic ballad or a doleful love song, but it works.
Not happy to navel gaze and feel bad about themselves, a lot of these songs brim with emotion, but seem on the surface upbeat, even if the lyrics are not always happy. ‘El Lazo’ is a triumphant track, really inspiring song with a sweet guitar refrain. ‘Lonely Girl’ could be a stoner rock jam from a lost era, but it’s also an alt-rock jangle-a-thon of fun. The band makes a lot of use of harmony for effect, not unlike Alice In Chains, either when it’s Potich doubling himself, or Dave McGarry backing up. The occasional three-guitar attack of the band is done to full effect and is used more for layering and alternate licks, as opposed to hammering in riffs and chords like most bands would do. ‘Veins’ is another badass rock song with a kicking tempo and great riffs. This would be a great show opener, and I’d love to see it. ‘Clarity’ is another heavy rocker that doesn’t skimp on the melody. Late album tracks like ‘Benny Two Dogs’, and ‘Rose’ are solid additions, but the real show stopper is ‘Evil Like You’. It’s hard to compare it to anything you’ve heard before, but it’s one part rock riffs, a little bit of blues piano, major dynamic shifts, and more incredible vocals.
If you’ve been hoping that a band would come along and make you feel like your favorite bands used to do, this band just planted itself dead in your path. Rock on!