Not many people outside of Orange County, California remember a 2-piece act named Roqbot. However, anyone familiar with the OC’s rock scene should know that they were the seed from which the fruitful tree had grown to become what is now RED9.

This self-titled full-length is the second offering from the band, but the first as a full collaboration between what is now the trio of band mates. Having just recruited drummer Giovanni “Gio” Fuentes during recording of their first album, “The Host”. Being said that RED9 had been the bands name on both albums, but with it’s current line-up and writing process being different, I guess you could call “RED9” their debut-sequel. Harvesting more of their love of Star Wars, as is apparent with the name of the band being an obscure mention from the science-fiction franchise.

“My Piece” MP3:

Delving right into the music, their first track “Fanatico” grasps the listener right away with its intro of smooth drums and bass-line. Then adding the slicing rhythm of Paul “Friz” Frislie’s guitar leading into the vocals of Jeff Lyons. After listening to the entire album, I found it very appropriate that the band chose this song to start their track list. As it embodies the sound that makes RED9 who they are today. Not trying to place it above the collection of songs the album makes up, but establishing the sound that RED9 comprises. Their identity song, so to speak.

Through each track on the album I could hear the diversity of the bands many influences. As example, on the tracks “My Piece” and “Emoticon”, I could clearly hear the Nine Inch Nails influence in both. On the many other tracks, I could hear traces of Foo Fighters, Filter and Alice in Chains. Yet, even with the influences shining through, the band adds their own unique sound to make each song their own, with their own set of storied lyrics and musical genius instrumentally.

Though I have enjoyed the bands previous musical offerings with their EP “1 of 9” and their first full-length “The Host”, I felt as though this self-titled album should be garnered as the true debut of RED9. As it is clear they have found that unique sound and fit with the line-up of: Jeff Lyons on Vocals and Bass; Paul “Friz” Frislie on guitars and background vocals; and Giovanni “Gio” Fuentes on drums. The journey the band went on does establish the identity of who they are today, but the full collaboration among all three band mates marks the growth of what RED9 is as a whole. They may mark their founding date as 2007, but the band in my eyes, were founded with the addition of Gio and the recording of the “RED9” album. With each track standing out as a possible hit, the album almost seems to be a “Best Of” compilation. Which will make future releases be a hard process to live up to.

Though the band doesn’t call themselves a touring band, one of their major strengths seems to be playing their music live. With their influences shining through, but with their own unique sound added in, concert goers feel like they have heard the music before. Even if it their first time ever setting eyes and ears on the band and their music. In live format the band plays very tight, sticking to how they have recorded the songs in the studio. They interact well with audiences and feed off the energy their songs create in the crowd. The interaction between themselves only shows the solidarity the band has made between each other.

Overall, I found this self-titled offering very enjoyable. It pleases the ears, has you wanting to learn the lyrics and each song has you wanting to hear the next. The growth of RED9, as a band, may earmark the foundation of how they became who they are today, but the offering of “RED9” only has me anticipating what the next branch of this band might be. This tree has truly matured and I can’t wait to taste their later fruits.

By L.White

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