August Burns Red


Written by: AP on 10/08/2007 13:34:00

At first sight August Burns Red might seem like a name generated randomly from a pool of words that are typically associated with the emo- and metalcore scenes, which is more than enough reason to bypass the band's latest outing "Messengers". It's a shame that probably two in three people on the lookout for some quality metal would do just that, because August Burns Red is a band that deserves a chance.

"Messengers" features some of the most stunning musicianship you'll hear this year. It’s an album that takes patience and an ear for detail, featuring not just the odd time signatures and drum patterns familiar to friends of math rock, but also guitar leads that are downright absurd. The band’s two guitarists deliver a repertoire of melody that rarely conforms to the expected, hitting notes that make no sense at all but sound reluctantly well-timed nonetheless, leaving you overwhelmed with awe. And this is not something that gradually builds through the album; it is evident already from the majestic, all encompassing intro to “The Truth of a Liar” that there is something fishy about this band. The songs are composed with such skill and esteem that it’s hard to point out a weak moment.

It’s hard to explain just what happens in the band’s music that is so bedazzling, but I can guarantee that it’s composition like this that keeps metalcore from extinction. The one of a kind drum patterns in every song scream math rock without ever being it, the guitar wizardry even leaps into the breakdowns – oh yes, harmonized guitars in breakdowns – and Jake Luhrs spurts out a vocal so terrifying it’ll have Tue Madsen think twice about executing another metal production, to form an album that, with enough hype, would become an instant classic. It isn’t hard to hear that Tue has had his hands in this, with a downright monstrous sound that will place “Messengers” among this year’s heaviest releases, distancing the band from the cliché melancholy of clean-sung choruses but leaving space for emotion, too. The drums have been powered just enough to avoid swallowing the ominous melodies discharging from constant guitar duels, and the bass isn’t just a line in the credits as it tends to be in many albums of this genre.

It's almost certain that "Messengers" will not surf the tide with the metalcore elite though, and that's truly a shame because this is a band that has all the potential and talent to be there. What keeps August Burns Red submerged is their taste for overwhelming complexity, but at the same time, compromising it would drown the band with the thousands of other metalcore bands that keep popping up. Cursed with this paradox, August Burns Red will remain a band that you wouldn't sell your blood for to see live, but would happily offer an arm and a leg for if you did.


Download: The Truth of a Liar, Back Burner, Composure, The Blinding Light
For the fans of: Burn in Silence, Between The Buried And Me, The Acacia Strain
Listen: Myspace

Release date 19.06.2007
Solid State

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