August Burns Red

Leveler

Written by: AP on 14/12/2011 19:41:46

And so begins the race toward reducing our respective massive pending review piles to a bare minimum before the end of the year. The first étape in my stake at winning this race takes us back to June, when August Burns Red unleashed their fourth album, "Leveler". Not ones to stray too far from a formula that has proven to win over a massive following, on it the band continues essentially where "Constellations" left off, with minor adjustments and a number of fresh ideas incorporated.

Unlike so many of their peers, August Burns Red have long since mastered the art of writing breakdowns, introducing them in exactly the right places and never sacrificing the flow of the song in question. "Empire" is a prime example of this ability; an exemplary piece of metalcore with plenty of pit-fueling mayhem to provide welcome breaks from the mentally demanding odd-meter riffs used profusely throughout. Still, bar the empowering chants that appear towards the middle of the song, it adds little fresh color to the band's existing palette. Those expecting brand new garments must patiently endure its four minutes before being rewarded with arguably one of the finest songs August Burns Red has ever written in "Internal Cannon". During it's three and a quarter minutes of runtime, the band comes closer than ever to sanctioning their self-proclaimed influence by Between the Buried and Me, combining the defining intensity of their own music with eccentric jazz intermezzos to wonderful effect.

Following a stroke of nostalgia in the dense chugging and atmospheric legato melodies of "Divisions", the band takes yet another, if slightly less impactful scoop from this newfound reservoir of light contrast with the slower "Cutting the Ties", which judging from recent setlists is on its way to becoming a live staple. It would be tedious to continue dissecting the remnant songs in as much detail, but know this: virtually every song that follows is characterized by stunning musicianship, expert songwriting and uplifting moods in best August Burns Red fashion. So while the likes of "Salt & Light", "Poor Millionaire" and "Leveler" might stand out as the strongest and most nuanced of the pack, there is enough texture and awe to be consumed no matter where you happen to press play.

Indeed, consistency has become the hallmark of this band. Unless they are planning a radical shift in their paradigm, it seems extremely unlikely that August Burns Red will ever write material that is not instantly captivating and ripe with instrumental prowess. "Leveler" certainly cements the band's status both as one of the most innovative and reliable bands in stateside metalcore right now, and as one of the big four of the scene alongside All That Remains, As I Lay Dying and Killswitch Engage.

8

Download: Empire, Internal Cannon, Cutting the Ties, Salt & Light, Poor Millionaire, Leveler
For the fans of: Oh, Sleeper; Parkway Drive; This or the Apocalypse
Listen: Facebook

Release date 21.06.2011
Solid State Records

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