The world of music isn’t for everyone, even those who have immense talent and willpower struggle to make it. The industry itself can be brutal, requiring sacrifices that many simply can’t make such as investing a large amount of money and time or leaving family for long, extended periods of time and essentially living in a van or bus. Sadly, these are just a few examples of what it takes and that’s for musicians who are just trying to make it. It’s this struggle that not only lets people know what certain musicians are all about, but it also shows the true resolve and character of someone. This is the spot Southern California post hardcore outfit Redeem/Revive found themselves in years ago, as their band morale reached an all-time low after countless attempts at trying to achieve their dreams, only to be told “no” over and over again. Fortunately for fans, the bands will and desire was nearly unbreakable as their break eventually came as their signing to Stay Sick Recordings became official. Now, after countless mishaps and record delays, the time is here for the world to hear their debut album Free Minds and it has absolutely been worth the wait.
Editors Note: If you want to learn more about the band and the album, you can read our interview with them here.
Free Minds revolves around the concept of Redeem/Revive “freeing their own minds”, or more appropriately, telling the world everything that went unsaid amongst themselves for far too long. They get straight to the point on the very first track and note as “Revive”, which plays off the band’s name as well, details the toll of how much work the band has put into their craft, only for it to take nearly everything from them. This concept and lyrical approach remains prevalent and at the forefront throughout the entirety of the record, from the albums artwork which is represented by a dahlia flower with various colors that correlate to different instances to the track titles and the underlying message of each. When tied together, it becomes apparent to listeners that Redeem/Revive have freed their minds and channeled the struggles they’ve dealt with in their careers thus far into their music, resulting in a beautifully composed and delicately crafted album.
While Free Minds will have listeners entrenched thematically from the beginning, the start of the album has a few hiccups before it truly hits its stride. “Revive” is a showcase of the sound that Redeem/Revive with a clean chorus/harsh verse structure that rides the music well, but it doesn’t do much to differentiate the sound from other post hardcore acts. “Call to Arms” feels slightly out of place with its gang choruses, different vocal style and repetitive instrumentation, but after that is when Free Minds takes off like a rocket and enters an entirely new plane. Starting with “Omen” and essentially running until the end with “Prelude”, the sound becomes much more refined with massive, memorable and catchy hooks, a beautiful mixture of clean and screamed vocals, well placed and detailed programming with orchestral elements and a barrage of pounding drums and sweeping leads and riffs. All of these elements help not only the whole album, but singular tracks sound varied. For example, “All I’ve Done” is one of the heavier songs on the record with a bridge that throws listeners for a loop while “Forty-Nine Thirty” is stylized in a ballad manner, but explodes into a beautiful crescendo and melds into “Prelude” wonderfully.
Throughout the vast majority of Free Minds, Redeem/Revive litter listeners’ eardrums with a sound that extends beyond typical post hardcore, bringing with it a record that sounds incredibly refreshing and one that has a very long-lasting appeal. With such a refined and well-composed sound, it’s amazing that it took this long for someone to give these guys their break and fortunately for fans of music and the band, that time came before they called it a day. Extending from the lyrical content and song composition to the album artwork and title, Free Minds is a complete package and will only leave listeners wanting more – here’s to hoping the next release doesn’t take nearly as long.