There’s certainly an early 90’s vibe about Red Eleven’s sound. The soulful mid-range vocals and inimitable groove that runs throughout their third album “Collect Your Scars” is very indicative of that era, but Red Eleven are from Finland…and that means things are never that predictable. Red Eleven have much more that time allows them to draw from as well as that Finnish attitude and skill that bands from that country seem to now be born with.
The label (and possibly the band too) seem to be keen to class their music as Alternative Rock (which conjures up all sorts of hideousness!), but there is way too much Metal in Red Eleven’s sound for that tag alone. I guess by the 90’s Faith No More could be classed as Alternative Rock, but surely Metal on the first 3 albums? I bring them up because they are undeniably a good place to start if we are going down an influence/comparison route. Opener ’I Follow’ plants us directly in this territory, both musically and vocally (Red Eleven’s Tony Kaikkonen has a similar sound and approach at times of Mike Patton, but Kaikkonen’s vocals are smoother, richer, more varied and…well…to be honest, rather better), with further examples being ’Know Yourself’ (which has all the previously mentioned attributes and even has a piano outro!) and ’All Emotions’ (but with a slight Modern Metal twist). Alice In Chains are occasionally evident, Pearl Jam too (like in the ballad ’Too Much To Ask’), but that’s all far too obvious for Red Eleven or any other Finnish band for that matter and this album has much more to offer.
‘And So I Take His Life’ – a track that pretends to be a ballad at the start and then heavies up mid-way – has me thinking of Mind Funk’s second album “Dropped” with it’s darker, slightly sinister approach. The band aren’t afraid to slightly Prog things up a little either and ‘Tainted Scene’ has elements of Devin Townsend that also crop up elsewhere too. Audrey Horne (‘Just A Game’ especially), Perzonal War (on the catchy ‘The Mark’), Swallow The Sun and even Green Carnation could be name-checked at various points on the album. I know comparisons are a bit of a reviewers cop out at times, but I wanted to use them here as an illustration of the band’s varied sound and their depth of influence.
Red Eleven have their own sound, no matter where it is rooted and the powerful, heavy, piano-infused ‘Last Grain Of Sand’ is a great example of the band doing what they want, putting in whatever works and coming out with a Hard Rock classic that any band would be proud of. The band are undeniably a modern beast, that just happen to take their benchmark from a specific era, but use this to create what is Red Eleven.
(7/10 Andy Barker)