Review Summary: Dashing through the snow, in a one horse open sleigh. O'er the fields we go, headbanging all the way.
You could say it's about time the metalcore band August Burns Red has decided to release a Christmas album. With 3 releases of special Christmas songs after main albums in the past, you could see this happening before your very eyes. Now it is finally here, and is it worth praise, has ABR done a good job with this compilation? The answer is indeed yes.
Listening to the album definitely does give you that peaceful December evening feel. While listening your ears will have a varying blend between soft, moody, and progressive to fast, pounding, and thrilling tones throughout. Production on the album is top quality, as a good number complained about in their previous album "Leveler", the sound is sharp and crisp and features some cool little extra sounds in the mix. Many may be wondering two questions: 1) Are their well known chugging riffs and heavy breakdowns in this release? 2) How is it without Jake Luhrs having vocals in the album? For question 1, not really. There are a couple notable breakdowns here and there, but nothing violent like you are used to in regular ABR albums, and along with the chugging riffs. not very many as progressive metal takes a higher influence in this compilation. Now for question 2, it's not all that bad. I myself was hesitant hearing some pre-release of songs thinking, "man, I would really like some screaming and growls in this, that'd be awesome." Halfway through I forgot about the vocals and was just lost in the instrumental sounds being produced. Although there is one track that does have vocals and that is Rudolph the Red nose Reindeer, but it is not screaming vocals. It portrays a kiddish/teen harmonious singing in it, no screams guys, sorry.
Diving in deeper to the ones who made the album, let's start off with JB Brubaker's guitar riffs, as they are probably the first thing you'll spot listening to this. Listen to the actual classic Christmas songs that are being covered in this release, such as Jingle Bells, We wish you a Merry Christmas, or Rudolph the Red nose Reindeer. Come back and listen to the covers of those songs and you will realize that JB is almost spot on to the original sound, only giving it more of the metal style you all know and love. I really liked that about the album, that the riffs really remind you about the actual songs. The riffs are hardly ever boring in this one, they are fresh and really never slow down or hit a rock in the road. Next on to Matt's drums. He doesn't hold back. His blast beats, fills, and technical work is just as great as ever. Nothing to complain about in the drumming. Brent's rhythm guitar is quite a change, since he isn't doing very many chugging riffs as compared to how his usual style is. It's a nice change, but don't let it fool, the guitar still has the power it always would have. Lastly on to Dustin's bass. That may be one complaint I have on this, is that Dustin's bass isn't very audible. Then again when has it really been though?
To end this here, any die hard August Burns Red fan will check this out and be pretty pleased. For those still unsure if you'll be into this, just ask yourself, "Do I enjoy listening to Christmas tunes." Then, "Do I like heavy/progressive metal?" If you answered yes to both, you're going to have a fun time. August Burns Red doesn't disappoint with a fun and catchy spin off to their usual metalcore vibe.
August Burns Red is: Dustin Davidson - Bass, JB Brubaker - Lead Guitarist, Brent Rambler - Rhythm Guitarist, Matt Greiner - Drums, Jake Luhrs - Lead Vocalist (non-present in this album.)