ALBUM REVIEW: ‘Guardians’ by August Burns Red

Hailing from Pennsylvania, August Burns Red continue to push themselves with each album, and it’s clear that their hard work pays off. The two-time Grammy Award-nominated metallers have made a strong name for themselves in the scene. Guardians is the new album that sees August Burns Red continue to develop.

The energy is electric throughout the tracks on this album. The precision across the percussion and technical guitar rhythms creates a powerful sound. The opening track, The Narrative, brings in technical death metal inspired instrumentation. Gut wrenching growls enhance the bass tones of their sound which works wonderfully with the contrast of higher melodies being played on the lead guitar. Bones is also a good example of this – the guitars sit higher in the mix by occupying a higher pitch range. The harsh vocals almost fall into the background; the instrumentation seems to take precedence. The heavy guitars and bass all merge into one solid wall of sound in this track. It gives a dramatic heavy feel to the track. August Burns Red aren’t afraid to experiment. The chorus of Bones introduces a soaring vocal line that gives an atmospheric uplifting sound. Paramount feels more like a traditional death metal track in respect to the harsh vocals, melodic guitar leads and fast, energetic guitar rhythms. That being said, some delicious technical riffs emerge as the track progresses.

Lighthouse has a very catchy chorus hook – the blending of clean and harsh vocals produces an interesting effect. The clean vocals bring the soaring vocal line that fits well with the underlying instrumentation. But, by having the harsh vocal present, it gives a distorted edge that helps to thicken the vocal sound and the surrounding space. The presence of spoken vocals brings an extra texture to the track. It works as an interlude and does bring a more personal element in. Ties That Bind shows off the guitarists’ skills with intricate lead melodies running throughout the track. Once again, the higher pitch and cleaner tone of the lead guitars fills the upper space of the sound with the harsh vocals adding to the heavy rhythm instrumentation. Three Fountains brings a dramatic conclusion to the album. The slower tempo, and build-up of instrumentation, introduces a theatrical element. The fast-paced guitars and percussion brings the bursts of energy that match the powerful sound that runs throughout the album. The outro of Three Fountains soars and brings an emotional, almost melancholy feel.

Guardians sees August Burns Red push themselves and their songwriting further. The variety of tones and textures used across the vocals and instruments, in each track, really show off their skillset.

8/10

For fans of: As I Lay Dying, Fit For An Autopsy, Make Them Suffer
Words by Holly Royle

‘Guardians’ by August Burns Red is released on 3rd April on Fearless Records.

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