Album Review // AUGUST BURNS RED ‘Guardians’
August Burns Red remind us what metalcore is all about through a new set of blasting bangers.
Over the years, August Burns Red constantly and undoubtedly delivered what metalcore fans were wishing for and thus remained a staple band of the genre. Integrating their signature sound in every song, they keep creating instantly recognizable tunes that not only make full use of mastered techniques and perfected riffs, but that elevate these by adding a subtle yet noticeable twist, giving a sense of freshness.
Their ninth album Guardians doesn’t stray from this tried and tested, yet perpetually successful recipe and can easily be considered their heaviest to date. The Narrative sets the tone for this album, after which each song takes it up a notch. Bones adds an anthemic vibe to it, before briefly calming the spirits just enough for Paramount’s feisty energy to hit in full force which propagates through the following Defender, Lighthouse and Dismembered Memory. These songs pose intriguing questions about self and togetherness, by duelling on the human’s to its own and to other’s fate.
Ties That Bind brings a slight change of pace with a surprisingly ‘light’ intro but it quickly returns to the gunning and battle-ready rhythm while making an inciting statement pro-liberation with strong belief in the successful achievement of freedom. This fighting spirit is further fuelled by Bloodletter and Extinct By Instinct which mid song provides an unexpected yet well placed break from the madness, in the form of a melodic, almost stripped down instrumental piece, as if a recollection moment was needed for the ideas preached so far to properly sync into the listener mind. While Empty Heaven and Three Fountains introduce the ideas of end and consequently of what the aftermath will mean – will it be an opportunity for self reinvention or a bitter realisation of one’s true self?
All in all, once again ABR raise to the expectations with a strong, matured metalcore album, staying true to themselves and the genre while still bringing their fans something different. Together the songs follow a seamless and natural flow throughout the album, while individually still managing to hold their own as a standalone banger. I personally really look forward to hearing some of these gems live, which I suspect to sound even heavier then than their digital version.