Seeing as August Burns Red has been around for ten years now, they have earned the right to throw down the gauntlet. Their guitarist, JB Brubaker stated “Metalcore is not an interesting genre at this point. It’s very repetitive and predictable; I want more than breakdowns and pop choruses these days.”
They are from Pennsylvania, America and have released ‘Thrill Seeker’ (2005), ‘Messengers’ (2007), ‘Constellations’ (2009) and ‘Leveler’ (2011), before taking a side-step with the seasonal ‘Sleddin’ Hill, A Holiday Album’ (2012). Their latest offering is ‘Rescue & Restore’ (2013). “At the end of the day we are still a very heavy band,” Brubaker says. “Rescue & Restore still has plenty of really heavy stuff, techy odd meter riffs, and all the stuff that people have come to expect from us, it just has a lot more surprises along the way.”
Opening with the crushing ‘Provision’ with its technical riffing, it tells the story of a man who was taken advantage of, but tries to stay positive. “You’ve given me this nightmare to wake me up / You say, “Take pride in the provision” / You’ve given me more than enough / You say, “Take pride in the provision”. They take off again with Jake Luhrs intense screams and growls in ‘Treatment’. Early on there is a classical interlude with acoustic guitars and violin before ramping up the tension.
Whilst bassist Dustin Davidson and Jake Luhrs trade vocals in ‘Spirit Breaker’ it starts to dawn upon you that the traditional verse-chorus song structure has been thrown out the window. And that’s when they hit you with a spoken word section with Jake reading out a letter. It takes the standpoint of a dark and depressing time, but holding onto the faint glimmer that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Another surprise comes in the jaw-dropping ‘Creative Captivity’ which is mainly instrumental and features violin, cello, marimba, Chinese harp, bongos and finishes with a trumpet solo. After that shock to the system, they restore the balance with ‘Fault Line’ which sounds like a throwback to an earlier timeline and will please longstanding fans.
They start off full-throttle for ‘Beauty In Tragedy’ before deliberately slowing for another spoken section. “Tomorrow, the air will be a little colder / But I’ll be sure to breathe for the both of us / And the nights may be a little darker / But I’ll be sure to carry the torch to warm the hearts / That never got to feel yours”. Then its back to throat-tearing intensity as Jake declares his desire to be reunited in the afterlife.
There are plenty more twists and turns before the end of the album. Whilst you can find piano, cello, violin and trumpet within it, they still have ample guitar lines and blastbeats. And after the unfortunate implosion of As I Lay Dying, they may be about to become the new saviours of metalcore.
Reviewed by Peter John Willoughby
3. Spirit Breaker
4. Count it all Lost
6. Creative Captivity
7. Fault Line
8. Beauty in Tragedy
11.The First Step
Jake Luhrs – Vocals
JB Brubaker – Guitar
Brent Rambler – Guitar
Dustin Davidson – Bass Guitar
Matt Greiner – Drums
Record Label: Solid State Records, July 2013
Lyric video for “Count It All As Lost”