‘Rescue and Restore’ Out Now
Artist: August Burns Red
Album: Rescue and Restore
Release Date: 21 June 2013
Number of Tracks: 11
Label: Solid State Records
“Versatility” is the word that most readily springs to mind when listening to ‘Rescue and Restore’, the latest studio offering from August Burns Red (ABR). This does not mean the band’s basic metal-core components are compromised though. The intricate guitar melodies coupled with non-stop pounding drums make sure that ABR do not fall short of expectations.
‘Provision’, the opening track on the album, demonstrates this by being an example of the genre that allows for a diversity of tone and tempo. The final result is something that hides the cyclical song structure, succeeding in providing a sense of refreshment and the will to continue.
The clever song writing continues as the quintet from Manheim, Pennsylvania, introduce ‘Treatment’. Around the 2:00 mark, sandwiched between two slices of pounding doom-laden percussion and riffs, is a section of orchestral sound. However, it doesn’t necessarily bring anything new to the table. The incorporation of melancholy strings into metal is easy to do because of the gothic implications they can carry. ‘Treatment’ has something else working for it though. The sudden change of genre makes you sit up and listen in a way you weren’t before. While the straightforward metal-core that precedes the section is still satisfying, the spontaneous acoustic guitar/violin combo offers a palate-cleanser before the next course of melodic carnage.
August Burns Red (Picture: www.altpress.com)
For some, the second half of the album may take another listen to fully grow on them. This is the part that epitomises the versatility of the album’s mood, so it could take patience to get to that place where you’ll enjoy listening to it. After passing the interlude track, ‘Creative Captivity’, some of the brutality is lost. August Burns Red appear to notice this after ‘Fault Line’ but ‘Beauty in Tragedy’ just doesn’t succeed in providing the level of punch exhibited in the first few tracks. By the end it just trails off rather inconclusively. ‘The First Step’ is the first track of the second half of the album that really returns to no-holds-barred aggression but by then it’s too little too late, being the final song. As a result you won’t necessarily see it as a full stop to the album, but more the final dot in a musical ellipsis made up of the three or so tracks preceding it. The individual listener can use this to make a choice. Is this an anticipatory dot-dot-dot or something signifying a product that is a little unsure of itself? If the latter conclusion is drawn initially, then a second listen is advisable.
3. Spirit Breaker
4. Count it All as Lost
6. Creative Captivity
7. Fault Line
8. Beauty in Tragedy
11. The First Step
Looked at separately, the last few tracks are still of a high quality but perhaps would benefit from having their order re-arranged to make the album listenable as a whole. Personally, I find August Burns Red have provided a decent example of the level of complexity metal-core can achieve. Albeit a mixed bag of tracks, ‘Rescue and Restore’ should definitely be listened to by anyone who thinks the job of a metal album is simply to drag you kicking and screaming from one track to the next.