In a era where anything remotly emotional is being praised, it's difficult to find something thats not slapped with the "emo" label. It's even harder trying to find something truly special in this new "emo" market. However, a band by the name of Red Animal War became one of the first new bands that I have loved in a while.
I first heard them with their song Backbreaker off of Deep Elm's, Emo Diaries 4. The song is filled with intense vocals (great lyrics), sharp guitars(almost in the vein of cursive), and some pretty melodic bass. The moment I heard the song I was shocked not knowing who this band was, and how they have not yet became the next big thing. I frantically went to there web page, and found that there first cd was soon to be released. Praise the lord, because at the time I was in desperate need for new music. So I went to Deep Elm and ordered "Breaking in an Angel".
The day it came I knew I was in for a treat, expecially with the cool cover art. I popped the cd in as soon as possible and the experience began.
1. Weak Bones My Break: The cd began with an subtle guitar, then soon after, Justin Wilson calmly says, "Like father like son. There's a poison in their blood it must run. And what have they done but destroy the one illusion. Not everything's fine..." The song begins to show how RAW will give the listener a sort of complexity in each song. They may go from straight-ahead rock to intricately tangled melodies to screaming over jerking and jolting rhythms.
2. Anthem: If a song could be a rollercoaster, this would be the one with the most turns. The melodies are always changing, but are never misplaced or uncomfortable. In fact it's the opposite. Its almost so different then your everyday punk, you may think that this is the strangest thing you have ever heard. But it takes time to truely discover each song. There may be an almost hardcore guitar driven melody where Justin says "these words that used to hold no water, collect and fill this bucket of blood", only to go to a relaxed guitar with a perfectly placed clip of a conversation from American Beauty, where Kevin Spacey explains to his wife how material items have become more important to her than there family.
3. Safe in the Air: The great melody continues, with a slighty slower song but not an ounce less of power. You can really hear the Blake from Jawbreaker resembelance in Justin's voice in this song, another great song.
4. Starter: The fastest song on the cd, and it shows how they can rock out. This song displays some of Jeff's good drum fills and and the never ending display of great lyrics, "give me something beautiful. i'll believe your lies. just tell me one thing. is it worth the pain?"
5. Dark County: The catchiest song on the cd, with a great mid song break down. Where they do something to the guitar, so it almost sounds like a citar, and then they do a great build up to the chorus.
6. Blue Shift: The song starts off with a soft but very sweet guitar riff, and then a drum roll to create a great intro/build up. Amazing melodies and a great chorus in this song. Great rock out near the end.
7. From Cold to Colder: You can truely see what each band member brings in this song. Brian, (who is a great bassist), has a great bass line in here. Justin with his emotional lyrics and guitar work. Jeff does a really nice job on the drums in this song too. Matt complements Justin, with really nice guitar melodies.
8. Heath: It starts off with an acoustic guitar and justin singing, and then soon takes that melody, and brings it into the electric realm. Matt has great back up vocals here, and you can feel the guitar poudning as it starts/stops throughout the whole song. Justin's lyrics continue as he shouts, "at the center of downtown, i'm screaming my fair lungs out. can i get an amen. my friends i'm slipping now.."
9. Hope: This is why I love bands that truely know how to use two guitarists. The song begins with a inter-laced guitar intro that I love. The song is down tempo, but always seems to be getting to a harder and faster edge.
10. The Disapearing Act: The quartet uses an intricate start-stop rhythm that give this tune a desperate urgency, with backing vocals from a girl, this song never lets up. A flute is even used at the end of the song. This song is an amazing end lyrically.
11. Get-Away Driver: Is an instrumental, that uses more bass than usual, and an ever chaning guitar riff from each guitarist. Amazing way to end then cd. Just the let the music do the talking.
Red Animal War is not your average band, there is so much diversity in every song. I can truely say that this band is like nothing I have ever heard. It was my favorite cd for 2001. It may take a few listens to truly see the greatness of this band. There is no shortness in the cd as each song is about 4 minutes or more long. Lyrically, every song tells a heart wrenched story. I suggest you get this cd and anything in the future this band releases, because this band is becoming more and more amazing, (their new split, unreleased songs, and live videos).