You know everybody’s seen
The way you’ve waged this war against me
You thought that you’d be free
Looking back you lost what you need

These walls that you’ve built up
You knew, they’d all come collapsing around you
And I know
The suffering, it feeds away at your soul

The poison seeping deep within
You drink it down but it comes up again
The lie takes a hold onto
Don’t know where it ends or begins with you

The Suffering by Red

We’ve always loved Red in my house. My wife and I got engaged after a concert of theirs in Chicago back in 2009 and every album seems to just hit at the right time for me. I’ll be sharing some of the new album’s best this week.

Demon Hunter: Exile

Every Monday we drive over 2 hours for the kid’s music lessons. Sometimes we fill this time with audiobooks. Sometimes podcasts. Sometimes we just catch up on conversations. Last night was music and it had been a while since I listened to Demon Hunter’s album Exile straight through, so we put that on and screamed out.

Much of this album is counter-culture— specifically political and social media culture. Take Master, which screams:

You need a lesson in loyalty
No need to suffer alone
You violate your humanity
When you recoil away from the tone

If all you want is just a master
We could be everything you need
If flesh and bone is what you’re after
Then let the foolish take the lead

Drop your Jesus, Christian. If all you want is just a master, the world is more than willing to fulfill every need you have. Just follow the tone.

They tell me God is not enough for war
Take a lesser man and bleed for him

In the words of the band, this is a concept album “[s]et in the aftermath of civilized society’s collapse, the 12 songs examine modern life through the lens of a nonconformist, contemplating a life untethered.” Social media is killing us. Specifically algorithm-powered feeds. The algorithm wants engagement and extreme content gets engagement. In Ryan Clark’s words, “[e]ven when it seems people have pinpointed things like social media as destructive, the concept of abstaining from it is quickly excused away.”

How do I silence the world?
How do I live through the noise?

We gave you this voice
A freedom you don’t deserve
Resounding with all of the noise
Dying to strike a nerve

Whatever happened to indifference?
Whatever happened to divided views?
It reads a lot like intolerance
When every word that you write says
freedom is dead

I saw an extreme far Leftist calling for the guillotining of Republicans on Twitter a few weeks ago. When he was responded to with “what happened to tolerance?” his response was “who ever said I was tolerant?” The tolerance bullshit was just to ram through the only allowed views. Now the facade is coming down. Whatever happened to indifference? To divided views? If dissent is not allowed, then freedom is dead.

I am a longtime fan of Demon Hunter and this album is no different. Ryan Clark is a great songwriter, and a great singer, and this album is full of great riffs and great lyrics when you slow down and listen.

Tried to walk together
But the night was growing dark
Thought you were beside me
But I reached and you were gone
Sometimes I hear you calling
From some lost and distant shore
I hear you crying softly
For the way it was before

Hymn for the Missing

This song wrecked me when it first came out in 2011. We all have that person we pray for most. Pray that they are okay, that they are safe, that they come home.

Where are you now?
Are you lost?
Will I find you again?
Are you alone?
Are you afraid?
Are you searching for me?
Why did you go?
I had to stay
Now I’m reaching for you
Will you wait, will you wait?
Will I see you again?

Red — of Beauty and Rage

If you haven’t heard of Red before, they are a great band to check out. Great rock with amazing strings. Great lyrics. Since getting my record player for Christmas, I’ve been really getting back into music. Most of my recent favorites have been Americana— one of the last refuges of sex-free, violence-free, and clean-language music— but I still pull out some Demon Hunter and Red a few times a week. It’s good axe-to-the-grindstone music for me.

Well, Red has a new album coming out on February 24th called of Beauty and Rage and did something cool last night with a new service called For one hour, they streamed the whole album for free through Great, simple interface and a great way to advertise an upcoming release. Get you hooked.

The biggest complaint about their last album, Release the Panic, was the lack of orchestrated strings, leaning more to just rock. To fix that, Red released a mini-album called Release the Panic: Recalibrated last year with more strings. I, personally, love Release the Panic in itself, but also love the old strings. With of Beauty and Rage, the strings are back. Descent and Ascent are pure string gold, and weaved throughout the album are powerful string compositions harking back to their first album, End of Silence.

Red holds a special place in my heart. On February 12th, 2009 my girlfriend and I went to their concert at the Subterranean in Chicago and afterwards, as we walked back to my car, I got down on one knee and proposed. Two years later we got married, an anniversary we’ll be celebrating next month. We’ve seen them twice now in concert, the night we got engaged and a couple years ago at Winter Jam, and are trying to figure out how to see them on tour this year. I’ll likely do a full album review in a few weeks when it comes out.