Christian hardcore isn't exactly my thing but I was willing to give The Red Baron's debut album, My First Love, a fair, unbiased listen only to find out that the record is everything I'd fear it would be: preachy, generic and forgettable. What we have here is twelve tracks of straight-edge and Christian-inspired hardcore songs where the band isn't afraid to exercise their faith and beliefs in their music. Despite my own personal views, the lyrics are far from the worst thing of this record at all. There's plenty of other things that drag My First Love into mediocrity.
My biggest gripe with this record is the vocals. For the entire album, the vocalist is attempting to do a relatively high-pitched yelp as he shouts along lines like, "American dream, American greed, American slave, what else will it take?" Just hearing him screech the opening line of "To my first loooove..." is almost painful to listen to as his shouting is absolutely grating. After about four or five songs his shouting and yelping becomes extremely obnoxious. They do enlist some help in the vocal department with guest vocals from the singers of In Irons, My Children My Bride, and Maylene & The Sons of Disaster. The guest vocals do add a little more oomph to these stale songs, but they don't have a great effect, overall.
Music-wise, this is your standard hardcore affair with the obvious generic chugging guitars in the verses, a lot of simple drum beats and plenty of breakdowns to go around. The one thing that nearly saves this record is some of the lyrics. As I mentioned earlier, most of these songs are inspired by the band's straight-edge and Christian views, and some of the songs aren't badly written at all. Most of the themes revolve around positivity, faith, and maintaining a drug free lifestyle. However, there are some pretty bad lyrics in the mix as well like "Grace is for Falling" which begins with the line, "Grace is for falling, catch me when I fall" repeated several times.
It may seem like I'm being too rough on this band, but they really aren't bringing anything new to the table here. It seems like they're trying too hard to be some of their idols and they simply don't posses the potential to be on par with them. I know they probably put all their heart and soul into their music, but that doesn't always mean that the final result will be a good one. In the end, My First Love is just a painfully generic and dull hardcore record.
4.5 / 10
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