Hailing from Dublin, Red Enemy are a five piece signed to Mediaskare Records, boasting shows alongside names like Parkway Drive, Unearth, and Tesseract. Following on from their second EP, the well received ‘What We Are Contained In Is What We Are’, the eponymously titled ‘Red Enemy’ is the bands first full length venture. They are clearly a far more matured outfit with this release.
From the moment the flat-fisted punches of album intro ‘Blind Eyes’ and follow up ‘(mis)leaders’ connect, it presents a hard, yet full and developed sound. From a production point of view it’s sharp edged percussion carves a clean line through the riffs and one can only describe the bass lines as ‘chin-out’, in that it had me half-sneering, half-grimacing with it’s grooves. As I settle into my review note making (still gurning and nodding in time) I scribble the words ‘Sepultura-era Max Cavalera’ as I’m reminded of some of the power and raw vocal grit that I used to love so much from albums like Beneath the Remains. But as ‘Anchorless’ rips in, I’m presented with fret-gliding riffs that boast a much more contemporary twist and I realize that offering comparisons to established acts doesn’t do Red Enemy justice as they have managed to dig out a music path of their own. Don’t get me wrong; this isn’t anything mind-blowingly original in genre, but throughout the listening, ‘Red Enemy’ offers up a bagful of fresh riffs, patterns and vocal blasts that keep it engaging and slick enough to avoid this reviewer making too many lazy, clichéd comparisons to Soulfly and Machine Head, above the fact that the CD could sit comfortable in their company on a record store shelf as an “if you liked this…” suggestion. This isn’t an album of clearly defined verse, bridge, chorus structure and there is a notable absence of anything that stands alone musically such as percussive indulgence or guitar solos; it’s of a far more luxurious and indulgent construction which delivers pace, pause, and subtlety in equal measure. It knows when to be pissed-off, and knows when to take a breath, but above all it knows what it wants to be.
A band that needs to break out of the confines of Ireland. Red Enemy’s debut album is like being hit in the face with a bottle of Guinness: It’s hard as hell, it hurts, but inside are all the tasty ingredients of a lasting after-taste.
Jordan O’ Leary