Artist: August Burns Red
Album: Found In Far Away Places
Release Date: June 29th 2015
Label: Fearless Records
Melodic Metalcore giants, August Burns Red, are back with another mountainous record, Found In Far Away Places. If you’re familiar with their style and sound then you definitely won’t be disappointed and if you’re new to the band or genre, you couldn’t have picked better guys to start your journey with.
As a band, they’ve always liked to broach a great many subjects that are often deemed too “heavy” for most styles of music. they’ve gone from talking about mental illness, grief, despair and redemption, in this album you’ll find a whole lot more of the same but with a more personal touch as the album is about them being away from home. Being a band that regularly tours, holds monumental tours at that, and has to spend a great portion of their time away from home, it can place a strain on anyone, but they’ve somehow managed it through the years and produced incredible albums all along the way. Let’s see what this one has to offer.
First off, I feel like I should try to explain the sound of this album so you know what you’re getting in for. It’s something quite unique in its construction and delivery, a cross between Counterparts, Erra and good old classic August Burns Red. Expect some epic anthem-y moments, a generous sprinkling of quieter sections, acoustic outros and the ever impressive, poignant lyrics you’ve come to expect from these guys. Musically the whole album is as tight as ever, each note and bar feels necessary and it all clicks, even some of the more bizarre moments (you’ll know what I mean when you listen to it. Separating The Seas.) feel perfectly placed. It’s a beautifully crafted album which delivers non-stop.
It all kicks off with a bang, seriously, the first notes of The Wake hit you like an unexpected face-five from your best friend. It’s a song all about the pummeling bass, twisting riffs, powerful vocals and aggression. Something older fans of ABR will be all too familiar with. Martyr is more reminiscent of Constellations with its floaty melodies, bouncy riffs with matching vocals and a lyric that sticks in your head “You’re taking steps on the fine line, so you don’t have to choose a side.” It brings me back to White Washed with its catchy lyrics and simple yet effective guitar work all hemmed in by sparse and powerful percussion.
Identity follows much the same vein as Martyr with its off-tempo riffs and catchy lyrics that just beg to be screamed at the top of your lungs mid-concert. It even has a mid section with a western-inspired guitar riff that frequents this album like a subtle chain woven within the songs. Now we move on to my favourite song off the album so far, Separating The Seas. I don’t know what it is about the song, I don’t know whether it’s the title, the lyrics or the sheer strangeness that it is. The intro is very unique in its sound, the slow sombre guitar beneath driving percussion with haunting lyrics bellowed on top, it’s a magnificent anthem of a track. It slowly gives way to a beautiful piece of music that only ABR seem to be able to perfect. The true artistry however, comes towards the mid-section. A bizarre acoustic section, starting with a finger-picked guitar riff, gentle and easy with swelling strings and percussion. The tempo gently builds, and builds, and builds into something which conjures the image of a Barmitzvah-come-polka. This blends perfectly into some more brutality and metal magic, I can’t stress enough how much I love this track. The combination and contrast is so odd and so perfect.
Next up we have a track that features another huge name in the world of metal, A Day To Remember’s Jeremy McKinnon. Having seen both of these bands perform at the same show myself, I can attest to their talent, power and tightness, but I never thought I’d see them on the same song together. The usual ABR hammer-blow rhythm and floaty melody belie the vocal brutality beneath and gives way to a strangely subdued chorus with Jeremy delivering his magnificent voice which oddly lends itself perfectly and his screamed highs marry beautifully with Jake’s lows. Majoring In The Minors starts off with what I would describe as a typical Hardcore-style sound that, albeit melodic in nature, reminds me somewhat of Obey The Brave. Which is by no means a bad thing, it just showcases their breadth of talent and influences which comes together to create a song that would usually seem out-of-place but somehow fits elegantly between metalcore and the odd-folksy segments. Speaking of which, we have another spliced into this song, the mid section revisits this recurring theme in the album which I’m really growing to love with every listen. As before it gives way again to unrelenting drive in the form of a magnificent guitar riff and the titular lyrics of “We are found, found in far away places” being screamed in your face. Beautiful.
Everlasting Ending and Broken Promises deliver a JCB-load of heaviness straight out of Constellations. Melodic, crushingly heavy and littered with magnificent lyrics, guitar riffs and breakdowns that’ll keep even the most vehement purist happy. The one thing I must note however is the length of these songs, both coming in over 5 minutes and Broken Promises is 6 minutes 19 seconds, outside of Opeth or Gojira that’s a mammoth amount of time to fill but this song never over stays its welcome, it’s constantly fresh and inventive while returning to itself time and again which really gives the piece the feeling of a journey. The end of this journey feels really profound with the slow, heavy but uplifting outro that reminds me of yet another monster of metal, Parkway Drive. Blackwood picks up where Broken Promises took off and brings it back to the melodic heaviness that ABR have trademarked over the years. Twenty-One Grams is another incredibly solid track, long enough to create something beautiful but not too long in its delivery, just showing that these guys are truly masters at their craft.
Vanguard starts with something wholly unexpected from these guys, synth. You heard me. A synth intro leads into an infectious riff that seeps all the way through the song in varying forms. A much slower song than the rest, punctuated with blistering heaviness and haunting vocal harmonies. Monolithic riffs and solos are crammed into this beast of a song that covers too many genres to be truly defined and it really stuck with me. Although a close second to my firm favourite, this is still a serious contender and I’m surprised they didn’t release this as a single, it may be long and unusual but the sweeping melodies, gentle piano breaks and subtle vocal chorus beneath is really quite something. What a way to finish an album.
An incredible album from a monumental band that still brings the heaviness in a world littered with clean vocals but isn’t afraid to show its soft side and broach subjects that perhaps others wouldn’t dare to. Ever at the fore, August Burns Red have created something truly unique in themselves and they have become the masters of their world.
August Burns Red are currently on the Vans Warped Tour and will be arriving in Europe on the 1st of October 2015
Facebook | Website | Twitter | Instagram