Colorado rockers Random Hero are back with another studio album, and this time, they’ve turned it up to 11. Tension is one rockin’ album, with a few tender moments thrown in for good measure.
The hard-hitting “Desperate Measures” kicks the album off with some seriously satisfying chunky guitar hooks and outstanding guitar riffs. Patrick Madsen provides a solid foundation on the drums for a pared-down bridge which ushers in a fantastic guitar solo. There are times in life when we have to face conflict. Though we may be desperate to avoid the discomfort, God will never let us go, and He’ll give us the strength to fight through to a resolution. Next up is “Motivation,” a song about the realization that not everyone has our best interests at heart. It can be easy for someone in an abusive relationship not to realize how the other person has manipulated them, but “Motivation” encourages us to testify to the power of God’s love to make us whole and give us the courage to walk away from an abusive situation. The beginning of the song has some electronic elements, with the band far below full volume, allowing Aaron Watkins’ strong voice to cut through. There are some background vocal harmonies that give the song some added depth. As the chorus approaches, the band kicks back in, full force, for another strong rock tune.
Title track, “Tension,” features an impressive bass presence, showcasing the notable skills of Rob “Los” McDonough. In the midst of a raucous rock track, there is a quiet moment, accompanied by a delicate piano, before returning to rocking out. “Tension” echoes the sentiments of Romans 7, where the apostle Paul laments the tension between wanting to do good but not doing so, and not wanting to do those things we shouldn’t, yet doing them anyways.
The middle of the record presents a softer side of the band. “Outgrown” sings of the love a father has for his children, wanting to protect them from heartbreak and see them reach their full potential. As much as these earthly fathers love their children, God loves us even more. That is an incredible concept to behold, and this song encourages the contemplation of it. “So Close” is more of a love song, celebrating the dedication that a husband has for a wife, through all the trials of life. The warm melody played on the guitar adds to the feeling of love.
“The Sound” offers a message of hope that seems to be present in so much of what Random Hero does, reminding us we’re not alone in this world. Though our demons may whisper in our ear that we’re in too deep and things look hopeless, we know Who has won the battle and that Good will triumph over evil in the end. “White Flag” wraps up the record, and begins with a violin melody dancing over a churning sea of low strings. The chorus includes a bit of dissonance, perhaps reflecting the tension of surrendering our own will to our Heavenly Father’s grand design for our life.
The last several records have proven that Random Hero truly has what it takes to secure a solid presence in the Christian rock industry, but they have absolutely hit it out of the park on Tension. The production quality is phenomenal without sounding over-produced, and the writing is superb, delivering a strong message of hope. Adding fuel to the fire is the fantastic performance by Watkins, McDonough, Madsen and new guitarist Micah Labrosse. It is clear that these guys genuinely care for others and want to offer them the same hope that’s been so integral to their lives. It is also clear that they love to rock and have a great time while doing so. Tension is a must have album, one that is sure to remain on repeat for a long time to come.
Buy Tension here