August Burns Red

It’s been a while since I heard a great, traditional metalcore record (Life In Your Way’s Waking Giants is the last really great pure metalcore record I enjoyed). With so many bands either trying the death, grind or pop up their sound or just try too hard to be zany and different, its seems, actual normal metalcore is a thing of the past (Never thought I’d say that).However, here is the second album from Pennsylvania’s August Burns Red, and armed with a new vocalist, Messengers, along with the new Darkest Hour is a perfectly executed example of top notch, Gothenburg laced metalcore.

The band’s transition from jarring angular metal to a more fluid and tautly melodic act is a smooth one helped by two guitarists who manage to balance Unearth like dual melodies without stepping into soupy KSE styled verse chorus prose and the more lurching grooves of say A Life Once Lost. New singer Jake Luhrs has a far more forceful presence, even though still Christian in content, but overall Messengers is just an album of 11 strong tracks filled with memorable riffs, solos and loping grooves.

Opener “The Truth of a Liar” and epic closer “Redemption” are brilliant, perfect bookends for this quality album which is carried by the strength of the songs and never hindered by its genre. There’s no ballads no wimpy singing or emo interludes just stout, riff filled tracks like “Back Burner” the dramatic “The Blinding Light” and “Vital Signs”, and even the ‘breakdowns’, as I mentioned earlier are more in line with the staggering lurches of The Minor Times et al rather than scene satisfying open note rumbling (i.e.“Composure”, riff filed “Black Sheep”). Though not as overwhelmingly melodic or emotional as label mates Life in Your Way, August Burns Red are comparable to a heavier, more melodic death metal version of It Prevails or Means and still manage to initiate an emotional response to many of the riffs and solos mainly because they seem so perfectly crafted.

Throw is a Tue Madsen production to top everything off and you have an American Metal album that, like Darkest Hours Undoing Ruin and forthcoming Deliver Us, that stands toe to toe with their European counterparts on all levels without resorting to so called “American Metal’ fallbacks and clichés, just great songswriting.

Great stuff. Chalk another one up for God.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
July 9th, 2007


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