Review Summary: Innovation and experimentation with new sounds brings August Burns Red ahead, and leaves a very satisfying album in their wake.5 of 8 thought this review was well written
The metalcore and post-hardcore scene is viewed by most as a generic and tedious genre of music. Few bands bring something new to the table that differentiates them from everyone else. However every once in awhile there will be band that has an outstanding feature. Then there are others where at first, may be just as generic as the rest, but will evolve into something that could have much potential. August Burns Red fits in the latter.
I found August Burns Red's first 2 albums to be fairly standard metalcore fair. Yet still they hit the spot for me, with each album having something to them that made them shine, and had many highlights. Then came along Constellations. The third album by August Burns Red, for the most part, was very standard yet again. However, there were more aspects to it than previous iterations. Different vocal techniques, more varied drumming, and quick and spot-on guitar work was more apparent. I was impressed with Constellations and August Burns Red performed well. Now before this turns into a Constellations review let me get to the point.
Unlike a lot of bands, August Burns Red realize that to keep ahead in this genre, innovation must step forward. They did this outright, and it paid off. The first song "Empire" at first seemed very standard to me, and I thought "here we go again" but then something went incredibly right. Towards the end of the track, epic gang vocals appeared, and instantly gained my attention. And with that attention, I stopped doing whatever activity I was doing and listened. Then came "Internal Cannon". This song had been released before the full release of the album, but I never got around to listening to it. Now, this is where the innovation comes in. Seamlessly, two salsa dance parts with acoustic guitars and tamberines climbed right in the middle of the hard hitting vocals and heavy instruments. At first this took me by surprise, and when I say surprise, oh boy. I thought my itunes had somehow switched songs to a track I had not realized I put in my library. However, after checking the song title and band playing, I was brought back to reality.
This sneak attack, and top notch shine throughout the album (tracks like "Pangea" and "Boys of Fall" standout pretty well) really made this album for me. It is arguable that this is August Burns Red's best work yet. The band realizes that to stay afloat in a crowded sea of generic metalcore and post-hardcore bands, they MUST bring something new to the table, and try to appeal to an ever growing, jaded audience. This is a huge step in the right direction, and should be noted for the innovative work.