Have a listen to: 'Ghosts' and 'Majoring The Minors'
August Burns Red – Found In Far Away Places
In the past 6 years August Burns Red have really shot up the ranks to be up there with the metalcore elite, though with Found In Far Away Places just being released it seems that the Pennsylvania metallers could very well take the metalcore crown for 2015.
As far as anyone is concerned August Burns Red are back doing what they do best. Unleashing bruising breakdowns topped with either soothing melodies or accelerated riffs that your mind chases. Jake Luhrs’ vocals stay just as ferocious as they always have and Matt Greiner’s drum technicality still knows no bounds with his off-beat flair. Nothing is “new” with the 5-piece, sticking by a system that has worked for them for many years, August Burns Red pick up where they left off with Rescue & Restore and continue at pushing the genres boundaries.
These boundaries are being stretched and torn apart with the addition of interludes that normally wouldn’t work but somehow the Pennsylvanians make them fit interestingly well. In similar style to ‘Internal Cannon‘ breaking the standards with its Latin influence, both ‘Martyrs‘ and ‘Separating the Seas‘ have moments that go from sheer brutality to a soft violin segment then back to the carnage we all know. To show that up, ‘Majoring The Minors‘ takes a similar approach but with a country and western influenced guitar interlude that just pops up out of nowhere. Something tells me Jake Luhrs will be asking the crowd to have a quick line dance before pit chaos ensues.
Something that works better than on any previous album is the band’s ability to switch from something crushingly heavy to a rhythm that is beyond calming, the use of the soothing melodies seems a lot more dominant on this latest release than ever before. The majority of tracks have a break from the bruising norm that we expect from August Burns Red, to the point that Found In Far Away Places sounds like their most beautiful release to date. Beautiful is not something you expect to say about an album that has the most vicious start out of band’s entire back catalogue. The opening roars from Jake Luhrs in ‘The Wake‘ flood your ears and the erratic guitars are almost overwhelmingly relentless. It is an interesting tone to set for an album that sounds so melodic.
Though this is quite possibly the most well written album in ABR’s career, the production of Found In Far Away Places is too similar to its predecessor Rescue & Restore. Not that it’s a bad thing, but what this latest release lacks is a general album tone that makes it stand out against their other albums. Apart from certain stand-alone solos and interludes in the songs on Found In Far Away Places, there is nothing about them that would help a listener differentiate them from songs on Rescue & Restore. As a whole Found in Far Away Places is a better written version of its predecessor, a lot of that is down to the incredibly talented JB Brubaker, his melodies, riffs and fiddly solos are all absolutely mind blowing. Musically the lead guitarist has outdone himself, which does seem a feat in itself considering the riffs and solos he has written in the past.
If there is a metal/metalcore album you need to hear this year, listen to Found In Far Away Places. As a goal to push the genre to better itself, August Burns Red have certainly set the bar for other metalcore bands to beat, in general creating an album more epic and anthemic than they have before. It will certainly be great to see how crowds react to these new songs, while a lot of them aren’t sure-fire pit starters, the atmosphere unleashed in these songs are far more impressive. It will be interesting to see how Parkway Drive’s new album Ire compares considering their latest song ‘Vice Grip‘ is more of heavy power metal song than it is a metalcore bruiser. One last note, one must about this album is to check out the cheeky guest vocal appearance of A Day To Remember’s Jeremy McKinnon in ‘Ghosts‘. While ABR have never really used clean vocals so dominantly in the past, his voice certainly adds to the epic nature of an August Burns Red anthem. Perhaps clean vocals could work more in future releases…