Comfort in the familiar sound of August Burns Red
Returning fans of the American metalcore band August Burns Red will immediately recognize the usual sound the band has come to produce and perfect. Guardians is nothing revolutionary, but people will be happy with the final product. New listeners of the band will get a feel for the rest of the albums in their repertoire and will find themselves eager to hear more. While the band is set in their sound, their work continues to be consistent and entertaining.
For their past two albums, they have been nominated for the Grammy of Best Metal Performance from singles off of each. With that under their belt, the band continues to thrive.
From “The Narrative” to “Three Fountains,” the screaming vocals of Jake Luhrs are continuously strong. Even though people are used to the noise they create, the composition of Guardians creates a nice contrast between screaming and clear vocals. The opener, “The Narrative,” is strictly screaming while the second track, “Bones” has a mixture of clear and screaming which highlights the band’s known versatility.
In this album, the little moments go a long way such as in “Paramount;” the “oh ah oh” moments of singing bring a soft side to an otherwise aggressive track that demands attention through vocals and lyrics. Another small moment that stood out was the end of “Defender” in which the last word trails off in an anguished scream as the last guitar note is drawn out. Another feature that appears in “Extinct by Instinct” is there is a period of no vocals and just the instruments coming through. At this moment, people can faintly hear whispers that barely make it above the guitar, but it creates an ominous and “this is a warning” feeling.
Both “Lighthouse” and “Three Fountains” start off on the slower side in terms of tempo on the whole album which makes these tracks stand out on the fast-paced album. “Three Fountains,” the finisher, has the slowest pace in particular which then transitions into the familiar bellow of Luhrs.
Overall, Guardians is an aggressive album from August Burns Red with soft moments interspersed throughout. These moments that are not as “in your face” create a nice breakup in a solid album. Fans, new and old, will relish in the sound the band has come to live in. One thing that is for sure is that people will be hearing new content in the future.