[REVIEW] August Burns Red – 'Guardians'
Review : Benjamin Coe
Pennsylvania’s best-kept-secret August Burns Red have carved quite a name for themselves over their impressive career. Not only have they held a solid lineup since their early days but they’ve also managed to release album after album of some of the best metalcore no one’s ever heard. Seriously, this band is so underrated it’s not even funny. Boasting some of the most technically proficient guitar work in their genre, the band have simply gone from strength to strength and it’s anyone’s guess as to why they’re not up there with the Parkway Drives And Killswitch Engages of the world.
This year will see them continue their run of flawlessly excellent albums with their 8th full length release, Guardians. And boy is it a corker of an album! Starting strong with opening track The Narrative, dual guitarists JB Brubaker and Brent Rambler set the tone for lead vocalist Jake Luhrsto burst on the scene and begin to tear your earholes from here to buggery. The way in which this man delivers such furious vocals should be an inspiration to any aspiring metal singer.
The Narrative sets a pace that does not let up throughout the entire album. In true August Burns Red style, the ferocity carries on from one track to the next bolstered by a stellar performance from the bands rhythm section. Drummer Matt Greiner beats the hell out of his kit in such a tight fashion that you’d think the drums were programmed. First single Defender kicks off with some solid lead-riffage from Brubaker that will take the nostalgic among you back to the early 2010’s hey day of metalcore while still maintaining relevance in today’s saturated scene.
Lighthouse brings a somewhat “softer” side to the album with it’s clean vocal intro and choruses but quickly descends back into the harsh heaviness that these boys are known and loved for with Dismembered Memory again showcasing Brubakers technical prowess. There’s not enough that can be said about how good this guy is; from catchy hooks to shredding solos, he’s got it all covered.
Stand out track Bloodletter takes the top prize for heaviest song on the album and features some of the deepest growls Luhrs has delivered in his entire career. The song is dark and it has an essence to it that really makes it stand out amongst all the other tracks on Guradians. Second to last song, Empty Heaven, will have you moshing where you stand before leaving you with the slow burn introduction to album closer Three Fountains, the longest and most ambitious track on the whole album.
There’s not a single dull moment to be found here, just brutally fantastic musicianship and some killer vocals that make for an absolutely pleasurable listening experience. Here’s to many more years of August Burns Red releasing these masterpieces upon the world.
August Burns Red's eighth full length, Guardians, is out Friday April 3 on Fearless Records/Caroline Australia and is available for pre-order/pre-save HERE :