August Burns Red
Sleddin' Hill


4.0
excellent

Review

by breakingthefragile USER (128 Reviews)
October 25th, 2012 | 49 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A jolly ol’ thrashing time.

Sleddin' Hill really is a one of a kind album, if a bit bizarre. It’s a record only consisting of instrumental covers of classic holiday carols and jingles; all in technical death metal style. Mind you this isn’t a strange and special EP or compilation offering, Sleddin' Hill is really meant to be August Burns Red’s official fifth studio album. The concept is eyebrow-raising to say the least, but August Burns Red are really the only band in the modern core band scene - and metalcore music in general - to attempt a holiday album, so Sleddin' Hill does technically count as a drastic shift in the band thematically, and is an admittedly unique idea that separates them from the rest of their contemporaries.

It’s safe to say that the main purpose of artist’s releasing Holiday albums is to showcase that artist’s voice covering the song, with little to no attention being given to the music backing it because holiday tunes are universally known as just simple lyrical rhymes without music that can even just be hummed or whistled along to. Because of this, it’s ironic that August Burns Red would release an album made up of instrumental renditions of these songs, but the positives to come with this are that listener’s are thankfully spared goofy cookie monster death growlings of holiday song lyrics that would have thrown any hope of taking this album somewhat seriously out the window, and that working with songs as simplistic as these also gives August Burns Red a lot of room to be creative.

What’s even more ironic is that Sleddin' Hill is August Burns Red’s most musically complex and - for an ambition as peculiar of a heavy holiday album - ambitious record in their discography thus far. Sleddin' Hill sees the band completely breaking from their conventional metalcore sound and delving into progressive metal-minded riffs and technical death metal song structures much more than they ever have before. They have managed to completely reinvent these songs in every way, making what was once incredibly simple and innocent into something carefully calculated, constantly changing, and heavily layered. And even with all that is being built upon them, the songs remain recognizable and retain the core beat of their original forms, with elements being constructed around them without changing them.

Even if this is metal, the tone of the songs aren’t altered in any way. This is frenetic and intense music that isn’t dark or harrowing, August Burns Red stays with the holiday spirit and keeps in a fun and bright mood throughout all of the songs, while also adding festive touches to the metal such as traditional jingle bells. "Sleigh Ride" is noteworthy for having a jazzy horn section that ties the album’s references to smooth jazz renditions of holiday songs with August Burns Red’s jazz-fusion influences.

Sleddin' Hill may seem like a ridiculous and obscure idea (and it is), but it’s an undeniably creative and offbeat idea for an album by itself, and especially for a band associated with a genre accused of too many similarities between artists. It’s a severe change in pace for the band, a unpredictable break from all of August Burns Red’s generic aspects, and ultimately a really fun album that isn’t influenced by dark themes and atmosphere yet still manages to be just as heavy as they’ve always been, and more varied than they have ever been.

It’s funny that it took of all things, a holiday album to separate August Burns Red from their genre-mates, and that a holiday album marks the band’s successful advancement into more complex habits of composing metal music, but it’s definitely something to be respected, and enjoyed most importantly. That is, if you don’t feel too silly head-banging to “Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer”.



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user ratings (352)
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
apokolypz (4.5)
Dashing through the snow, in a one horse open sleigh. O'er the fields we go, headbanging all the way...


Comments:Add a Comment 
breakingthefragile
October 25th 2012


3104 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Believe me, I was really skeptical about this album at first, and I was pretty puzzled by it afterwards, but after giving it a lot of thought (a lot more than I probably should have) I think I came to the right conclusion. I know this review is late by about 2 weeks, but I still wanted to review this because it's an odd album and I had a lot to talk about.

ILJ
October 25th 2012


6941 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Sweet review. This was a really cool idea, but I think the album is a bit bloated for its concept. If they had trimmed a few songs, I feel like the album would have been more enjoyable. That's just me though.

breakingthefragile
October 25th 2012


3104 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks dude. And yeah, I see what you're saying. This probably would have been a

better idea for a special EP, but I think they managed to pull off making the idea

into an entire album without it seeming like overkill, but hey, that's just me.

breakingthefragile
October 25th 2012


3104 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's true though, bear with me. They've finally progressed into that territory. This

album's not the best and most powerful example of the purest technical death

metal out there, but they've definately moved into that direction here. They aren't

so much the generic core band they're known for being.

breakingthefragile
October 25th 2012


3104 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Btw, Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer does technically have vocals in it. My bad for not mentioning it in the review.

blastOFFitsPARTYtime
October 25th 2012


1844 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

album is p cool.

KILL
October 25th 2012


81232 Comments


thrashin ay

breakingthefragile
October 25th 2012


3104 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nah, not true thrash like that KILL. I just used it for lack of a better word, but it

doesn't really fit come to think of it. I should probably edit it, didn't mean to decieve

you bro.

Evreaia
October 25th 2012


5122 Comments


album and band blows.

abrfest
October 25th 2012


32 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

so fun to listen to. pure fun

Atari
Staff Reviewer
October 25th 2012


24993 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Why not skeletor?



Good review Alex I love Xmas music and august burns red is cool

Digging: Lagwagon - Railer

indigonowhere
Emeritus
October 25th 2012


10732 Comments


BreakdowningTheFragilecore

DotEight
October 25th 2012


5704 Comments


Holy shit why did I not hear about this until right now?

Oh Pirate Bay...

breakingthefragile
October 25th 2012


3104 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@Omaha Thankfully there are no shitty breakdowns on this album.

Atari
Staff Reviewer
October 25th 2012


24993 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm gonna listen to this now but I have a hard time believing it's technical death metal lol. They're a metalcore band!

someguest
October 25th 2012


29931 Comments


I heard three or four tracks from this a few weeks ago. It's still metalcore.

KILL
October 25th 2012


81232 Comments


does it rock

Atari
Staff Reviewer
October 25th 2012


24993 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I like it so far the first song flurries is pretty cool

someguest
October 25th 2012


29931 Comments


I was bored with it. But it isn't close enough to selling shit time.

breakingthefragile
October 25th 2012


3104 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

They are still a metalcore band at heart on this album, never said they changed from that completely. I think they've really ditched a lot of the generic aspects of the metalcore formula though, the lack of meat-headed breakdowns is nice.



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