Review: August Burns Red - Guardians
Pennsylvania metalcore icons August Burns Red rarely if ever show any signs of slowing down as most bands do as their careers move along. Guardians is unbelievably the groups ninth studio album, that's somehow more than Slipknot has in their nearly 25 year career. It's difficult to comprehend how long August Burns Red has been at it now having fully established themselves as arguably the most technically gifted band in metalcore, As one of the most respected bands in all of the core scene, the expectations has been set high for one of the most respected bands in modern metal.
The Narrative is a perfect choice for an opening track by strong drumming presence, kicking off with a signature August Burns Red classic riff and speedy double-kick drumming. Vocalist Jake Luhrs continues to assert himself as one of the most powerful and dynamic frontmen in the game. August Burn Red has a knack for choosing wonderful openers that set both the theme and pace for their records and it's no different in this case. Bones gives briefs moments for every member of the band to shine individually, with perhaps the catchiest chorus the band has ever penned to date. Catchiness isn't something that usually comes to mind when discussing August Burns Red but here they show it is something they're fully capable off if they choose to do so.
Paramount propels the record forward giving a chance for one of the best lyricist in metal to shine with a powerful uplifting message, which is perfect for these dark times. Guardians is proving to be a nice amalgamation of various styles not always combined in the bands previous repertoire. Lead single, Defender, will undoubtedly be a staple of the bands future live performances with it's epic lead riff before crumbling down into two crushing breakdowns. That formula proves to be fitting for Guardians as we get the groups signature technicality but also strong hits of heavy metalcore mosh parts. Lighthouse might be the most melody based song the band has ever made and they pull it off rather well, nevertheless it's a surprising track from the band. With very good clean signing, this song showcases a realm of new possibilities for the band.
Dismembered Memory is one of the best showcases of the immense level of talent this veteran band possess. The drumming is top tier as always, the riffs are tight and smooth, the vocals are crisp and emotional. This is easily one of my three favorite tracks on the record. Bloodletter has to be my favorite record on the album and one of my favorite August Burns Red tracks of all time in fact. It's a punishingly heavy track drawing on influence from old school deathcore to great results. A track like this shows you a clear sign that unlike many of their peers, August Burns Red isn't taking their foot off the gas anytime soon.
The rest of the tracks are extremely solid as always with wonderful technical riffs, insane drumming patterns and vocal shrieks straight from hell, or heaven in this bands case, In all, somehow Guardians managed to satisfy my extremely high expectations. It's truly astonishing how they continue to find creative new ways to keep their sound from getting stale without making drastic changes. It's fair to say their isn't a more talented, kind, and dedicated band in metal as August Burns Red and they deserve all the heaps of accolades and praised they've earned. Guardians gets a 4.5 out of 5 from us.