“Found in Far Away Places” is the 7th studio from one of my favorite bands of all time, the Pennysylvanian 5-piece known as August Burns Red. Does this mean this review is going to biased? Well both yes and no, because frankly these guys have never let their fans down even in the most experimental efforts. And after they teased the first single from the album in April, one had a little doubt in mind that despite the band incorporating a lot of new sounds over the course of the last few albums, they were ready to have a homecoming of sorts to the sound that made them so frickin’ popular in 2005.
“The Wake” is nothing if not a throwback to the days of “Constellations”. With a breakdown waiting right around the corner at the early 30 second mark, the song is definitely going to take old fans of ABR for a headbang session down memory lane. “Martyr” and “Identity” are two tracks that really piqued my interest. As mentioned above, the band has been on an experimental warpath for the last couple of albums, incorporating the strangest and most unlikely melodies in them. That is the same case with “Martyr”. Maybe I am mistaken, but “Identity” seemed to tip his hat beautifully in the way of some bass grooves and guitar leads that seemed to be very Blues and Classic Rock inspired, all in all a welcome addition the ABR sound for an eager fan.
August Burns Red are also known for writing some of the most inspiring lyrics and catchiest choruses that have led to massive sing-alongs at sold out shows. This time the band does not disappoint either with some strong chorus parts on both the 2nd and 3rd track. The bridge too “Identity” sounded equally magnificent. There is a track on every August Burns Red album where the band outdoes itself in terms of amalgamation of multiple influences, and of course the outcome of that unholy alliance. This time around “Separating the Seas” makes the case for that theory regarding the band. The track is something very new in terms of experimental territories for a Metalcore band, and it comes as no surprise that it is a band of August Burns Red’s oeuvre that pulls of such deft songwriting.
Combining memorable hooks with aggression has been something of a signature move for this band, and that statement has held true for them since the earliest albums. The tradition is carried forward even in “Found in Far Away Places”. With a little help from Jeremy McKinnon of A Day to Remember, on the track “Ghosts”, ABR vocalist Jake Luhr’s commits his enviable chops to a memorable duet. Drummer Matt Greiner makes his presence felt every second on this track with his unrelenting drumwork. What makes “Found in Far Away Places” standout is that not every track has an overly complex approach by the instrumentalists, songs like “Majoring the Minors” and “Everlasting Ending” which features Between the Buried and Me’s Paul Waggoner, seem more about being just great Metalcore tracks with a solid guitar groove as a backbone, than about flaunting technical brilliance. Sure they are Technical but not for technicality’s sake.
The Progressive element in August Burns Red has always been about incorporating more and more styles of music that simply fit like a gloved hand with their trained Metalcore assault. The last to last time witnessed a lot of Salsa influences on major singles on the album. This time around the band wades a bit more towards Gypsy-folk as a guilty pleasure, while traversing the Metalcore pastures. Intermingling Melody with even the most moshworthy Metalcore numbers is common style for guitarist JB Brubaker, and he does not disappoint a bit on this album either. “Everlasting Ending” turned out to be the personal favorite for me for his work alongside Paul Waggoner of BTBAM. The rhythm section brings it in heavy on the album for the most part but “Broken Promises” is where it begs the listener to indulge their attention some more.
I could go on listing the merits of this album the whole day, but I think I gave it away quite early this time how biased I am towards this band. So let’s just go out on a limb and call this my favorite Metalcore album of the year already. Because in spite of respectable efforts from some of their most reputed peers, August Burns Red has been the one for me that kept every element in the equation in the right proportions and delivered an un-put-down-able record to round off the first half of the year.
With releases on the horizon from some of Metal’s most revered names like Lamb of God and Slayer, I can already feel my gob water with anticipation. And August Burns Red whets the appetite so good for what’s going to be soon on the menu!