“We are RED!! If we are too loud, you’re too old!”
1: Road to Empire
2: Welcome to the Empire
3: I Don’t Care
4: Warriors of Dream
5: World Wide Will
6: Second of May
7: Second of May (Instrumental)
RED has certainly found its place in the Hong Kong indie music landscape. The band has formed a loyal following, and has recently released a pretty sweet debut EP. Like their shows, the new album is full of chugging guitars, screaming twin guitar solos and big rock vocals -classic metal bliss.
Formed in 2008, the band boasts five artists; Weev (Guitar) Jackie (Guitar) Ray (Vocals) Laurel (Bass) Alex (Drums). Most of the band members have been playing together since high school and have had ample time to develop their sound.
Since their inception, RED have been a hard working gang playing at heaps of events and receiving lots of recognition and awards throughout Hong Kong. Their First EP -Welcome to the Empire- is a through and through epic heavy metal adventure.
The album opens to a grandiose and dramatic orchestral ensemble which takes me back to all those 80s fantasy film soundtracks I was obsessed with as a lad -strings, synths, wood wind and even a pan flute! Then the gates open to a battlefield of maiden-esque metal; a labyrinth of chugging guitar hooks, tight and quick leads, solid driving bass with lots of double kick and tom work. All the things we expect from classic metal. There are some nice interweaving twin guitar solos happening here and there, adding depth and drama to the sound.
Ray’s vocals are big and operatic with wide vibrato and some really impressive chops. Although at some parts, when Ray hits the upper register, it can feel a bit squeezed; there is enough character and gravel in his voice to pull off them big notes.
There is nothing too experimental in the song structure, it’s all standard stuff for a metal band in this vein; Intros, verses pre chorus, solos, bridges and outros, making songs big and epic.
A song which I have rewound to a few times over the week I’ve been listening has been ‘I Don’t Care’. It captures everything I like about this band; dramatic builds, cool licks and tricks, and some big singing. Certainly, this would be a fun one to put your neck out on.
The production and editing is very good. I have a lot of respect for heavy metal albums. I know how much work they are to put together -The fullness of sound, the drama and the speed all jammed in one wee basket is hard to keep tight, much like classical music. They have certainly accomplished this in Welcome to the Empire.
RED’s debut EP is a solid start for this band, and I know as they continue to grow -and maybe start pushing their own musical boundaries- they will develop into a mega force!
Check their stuff or order their album at:
Review by Chris Bolland