RED releases its first full-length studio recording in three years, RATED R, Sept. 29 from RED ENTERTAINMENT / The Fuel Music. The album can be pre-ordered/saved now via https://slinky.to/RatedR while the lead single, “Surrogates,” premiered on this week’s SiriusXM Octane Test Drive and is available beginning today (Aug. 4) at digital and streaming outlets globally via https://slinky.to/Surrogates.
Consistently pairing sophisticated instrumentation with hard-hitting songwriting, dynamic performances and grippingly personal lyrics, RED’s evocative artistry takes center stage on its eighth studio album, RATED R. The follow-up to 2020’s chart-topping DECLARATION, the first release on their own independent label, the thought-provokingnew album finds the band tackling several resonant and relevant topics amidst centering on the ideological and interpersonal divisions, confrontations and suffering of modern society.
“We’re examining how there’s almost no authentic human interaction and empathy anymore,” guitarist Anthony Armstrong explains. “People jump online to be and say whatever they want. They talk without listening, and it results in bullying and violence. Plus, we lose so much by focusing 24/7 on technology instead of stripping away everything that doesn’t matter and seeing how beautiful and healing it is to live with only what’s necessary.”
Bassist Randy Amstrong agrees: “Traditional family values and systems are broken and it’s causing chaos. Kids are forced to do active shooter drills at school, and it breaks our hearts. As the saying goes, hurt people hurt people, and we’re definitely seeing that. There’s also the notion that we learn by suffering and making the wrong decisions. As philosopher Meister Eckhart stated: ‘The soul does not grow by addition but by subtraction.’”
These sentiments influenced the sequencing and meta qualities of RATED R, as well as the album cover that represents the fake, almost plastic versions of humanity.
“It’s RATED R for RED and we always try to be a bit provocative to get our audience thinking with how our records look and what they’re called,” says Randy.
With “Surrogates” kicking things off with noise from news reports, symbolizing how overwhelming the media can be, the single will also become the first video from the album, drawing upon the band’s filmic past. The band heads to Utah later this month to do the filming.
“RED fans will love how ‘Surrogates’ builds upon the story we’ve been telling since our second LP (2009’s Innocence & Instinct). We’re going back to the 1890s Old West because it’s the prequel to the entire series,” Anthony explains.
Behind the scenes, RATED R is notable for two major changeups: Anthony taking over production duties from longtime partner Rob Graves and the addition of drummer Brian Medeiros officially joining the Armstrong brothers and inimitable singer Michael Barnes.
“Rob was busy with his solo project, so he gave us his blessing to try a different route,” Anthony reveals. “That said, we’ve absolutely kept the classic RED formula of symphonic elements, piano-driven atmospheres, heavy yet melodic guitarwork, and deep-seated and robustly delivered messages.”
This fall, and well into 2024, RED will be taking its hits, fan favorites and RATED R music on an extensive international tour. The first leg of the tour begins in the U.S. Sept. 8 in Joliet, IL and traverses 25-cities across 16 states before wrapping up at The Masquerade in Atlanta Nov. 19. Following a second string of U.S. dates in the winter/spring, RED is set to rock 135,000+ Graspop Metal Meeting festivalgoers from the mainstage in Belgium next summer with plans to hit additional festivals before traveling to 26 European cities in the fall of 2024.
“We released DECLARATION a month after the pandemic shutdowns began, so we never got to properly tour it. With RATED R, we can. What’s really cool is that we’ll be headlining and offering the complete RED auditory and visual live experience for the first time in years!” exclaims Anthony.
With RATED R, RED delivers a visceral and valuable statement. “This is our chance to reach people and inspire them with our music and what we stand for. We want people to take responsibility for change,” sums up Randy.