August Burns Red. As of Tuesday, June 25th these guys have officially released five full length albums, and let me tell you, not a single disappointment! In 2005, ABR released “Thrill Seeker”, an impressive debut featuring technical guitar work, creative drumming, and of course mosh worthy breakdowns. In 2007 they released “Messengers”, one of the heaviest hardcore metal albums of the decade and arguably the most influential album in their discography. Countless bands have tried to emulate the sound of that album, not to mention, songs such as “Back Burner” and “Composure” remain staples in their live shows. The next two albums, “Constellations” (2009) and “Leveler” (2011) showed August Burns Red moving into a more melodic and progressive direction, while still holding onto the technicality and brutality that made them great in the first place. With such an impressive back catalog it’s difficult to imagine how they would top it all with the new album.
Well, with the release of “Rescue & Restore” they did. This album is truly in a world of its own and each member has managed to bring their A game on this effort. Jake Luhrs lyrics are as inspiring as his vocals are powerful and brutal, yet he brings something a little different to the table this time around. On songs such as “Spirit Breaker” he makes use of a spoken word verse similar to that of Dallas Taylor on Underoath’s “The Changing of Times” album. JB Brubaker and Brent Rambler show their constant improvements as they are able to switch between intricate and technical riffs to beautiful melodies within a matter of seconds. Even the soloing has improved, with songs like “Treatment” demonstrating the melodic style as opposed to the tech-death influenced solo in “Animals” (were they listening to The Faceless?). Dustin Davidson’s bass is more audible than it’s ever been and in choice moments can sound a bit funky. Matt Greiner’s drumming is incredible, but that’s honestly more of a fact than an opinion. The man has some of the best skills behind the kit and he really helps to bring out the best in the other members of ABR.
Overall this is probably the most technically proficient album these guys have released. Many of the song structures and breakdowns are reminiscent of the “Thrill Seeker” days while they also continue to expand upon the melodic side established on their most recent albums.
One of the most interesting aspects of this album is the use of various non-traditional heavy metal instruments such as the violin, piano, and trumpet (also the cello played by Grant McFarland). Most of this is used to establish atmosphere with the noticeable exception being the song “Creative Captivity”, an experimental piece towards the middle of the album. This song alone is proof that August Burns Red has transcended the Metalcore boundaries and is moving towards a more progressive metal direction.
“Rescue & Restore” is a great release from a phenomenal band, and is worth an honest listen. Check it out!