Review Summary: An album that lives up to it's expectations
When a young, small band called August Burns Red released their debut album, "Thrill Seeker," on Solid State records, metalheads all over the globe were completely shocked. Some had even experienced a new meaning to the word "salivate." Maybe it was the dul guitar harmonies that gripped their throats. Maybe it was Josh's howling and unique vocals. Or maybe it was the over-abundant amount of crushing breakdowns. Whatever it was, this debut album showed these young adults potential.
Then, "Messengers" was released. With a different line-up (vocalist Jake Luhrs and bassist Dustin Davidson), a different sound is to be expected. But these Lancaster boys blew everyone away yet again, attracting more people with their diverse setlist. With the neck-jerking "Back Burner" to the melodic "Composure," there was no possible way for any record to ever be released that would blow this one out of the water.
But fans, rejoice! For unto you this day, a new record has been born, and has been named "Constellations." Just hearing the title of the record itself, I knew that this one would be different. To be honest, I expected it to be more of an experimental/atmospheric album, with it's moody artwork visuals. But I was shocked the moment I popped the disc into my cd player (yes, I know, I'm old-school).
The guys kick it off with "Thirty and Seven," giving us a glimpse of what lies ahead. With noticeably fewer breakdowns, and heavier vocals, the album almost seems to push the band out of it's "metalcore" tag, and into more of a "thrash metal" sound. "White Washed" is a personal favorite, with it's gutteral chorus and wailing lead guitar riffs. "The Escape Artist" sounds like something that should have been on "Thrill Seeker," whereas "Meridian" takes the band on a path they have never been down before. With it's haunting chord progressions, and very subtle keyboard parts, it has got to be the best intrumental track I have ever heard.
One thing I really noticed about this album as a whole is that when it is quiet, it is very quiet and somewhat eerie, and when it is heavy, it is heavy all the way. It seems like the album really progresses in more of a thrashier sound than their previous albums. Jake's vocals are killer, which is supposed to be expected after hearing "Messengers." His highs and his lows are much more polished, and he even gets into the gutteral screaming even more than before.
The lyrics remain very positive, displaying their Christian faith without shoving their beliefs down anyone's throat. One thing worth mentioning is that the song "Paradox" even has a Bible verse included in the lyrics. Sure, it may not be a "non-religious" listener's cup of tea, but it is an admirable thing to stand up for your beliefs, and I applaud these guys for it.
So pick up this album and you will not regret it. I guarantee you, it will not leave your iPod ever. Does it beat "Messengers"? Yes, by a long shot. Is it heavier than "Messengers"? But this cd to find out for yourself.