Review Rating: Add It To My Playlist! [4.6 / 5]
Rock fans rejoice! Denver-based, Christian rock band Random Hero is set to release their latest album, Tension, this Friday. Over the group’s decade-long career, they have earned several Top 5 Christian rock singles for their hits “Mirror Mirror,” “Not Alone,” “Burn Up the Night” and “Mercy.” Comprised of band members Aaron Watkins (vocals), Rob "Los" McDonough (bass), Patrick Madsen (drums) and Micah Labrosse (guitar), the group seeks to use their music to spread hope, faith and healing to those who need it. They have been mentored by former Skillet guitarist Ben Kasica and featured at music festivals and fairs around the world, including the Vans Warped Tour and the CityRockFest Tour. Featuring 10-tracks, Tension sees the band step out of their comfort zone and tackle head-on the crossroads and obstacles in their lives in an energy-packed, electric record.
In the album’s title track, the group chronicles their season of change and growth, offering encouragement to others who find themselves in the midst of life’s unavoidable challenges. Introduced by a deep and warped melody slowly pulsing in from silence, the tune is soon bolstered with rhythmic electric guitar. Lead vocals punch through on top for the verse, leading to the chorus that uses sustained vocals to bring magnitude and carry emotion through the melody. The musical accompaniment diversifies in the second verse. The song halts to a soft, hazy bridge with progressing piano chords in the foreground and light, airy guitar in the background before the chorus comes back with a punch. Random Hero musically captures and communicates the uneasy, stressful feelings of tension in the melody and intonation of this piece.
Midway through the album, the momentum changes and the message gets more deeply personal. “Outgrown,” a reflective tune written from the band’s perspective as fathers, starts with a synth melody with light percussive hits on the beat. Vocals enter in an easy groove and carry through the verses, blossoming and building during the chorus. The song is a father’s touching reassurance to his children that he will be there to support them and love them unconditionally, much like God’s relationship with us. In “So Close,” solo vocals and rhythmic guitar chords introduce us to the love song written by the group to their wives. The vocals are soon harmonized, weaving a clear, clean ensemble. After showcasing harmonized vocals and guitar accompaniment, percussion kicks in and the accompaniment deepens for the next verse. The lyrics convey a promise of togetherness and a confidence that life’s obstacles will be overcome with their partner by their side.
The album ends with power in “White Flag,” a triumphant and rocking anthem. A galloping instrumental introduction builds into the first verse, as the lead vocal enters with special effects. Soon, the vocals and accompaniment burst into the chorus with pronounced emphasis on the first two beats of each phrase. The song breaks into an explosive guitar solo with accompaniment, taking a dramatic beat pause before the chorus kicks back in. The lyrics unapologetically declare our brokenness in trying to take all the control from God, deciding instead to humbly surrender to God and see the amazing ways He is orchestrating our lives.
Random Hero delivers another level of powerful rock anthems and deeply honest messages with Tension. “For the past three years, we tried to grow as a band, but we stayed in our comfort zone,” drummer Madsen shares. “With this record, we told ourselves the vision for it is bigger and better things.” On each track, listeners will hear and feel the stressed and strained yet hopeful and surrendered space that the band walked through to create this album. For listeners who find themselves in these same spaces in their lives, Tension provides solidarity, understanding and hope.