Review Summary: August Burns Red continue forging their own path.
August Burns Red have done more than their fair share of effort to distinguish themselves from their contemporaries in their twelve year existence. Many metalcore bands paralleled them by rising in popularity throughout the 2000s. Most reacted to their seemingly instant success in varying, pathetic attempts at selling out and writing embarrassing attempts at generic radio rock music (Avenged Sevenfold, Bullet for my Valentine, All That Remains etc.). August Burns Red on the other hand chose the best possible route to take, by increasing their instrumental skill and concentrating on writing the most technical and varied music they could. What resulted was Rescue & Restore
in 2013, featuring wider use of varied instrumentation, improved lyrics, and songwriting leaning toward progressive metal. Found in Far Away Places
largely plays out like a second part to Rescue & Restore
, but the dabblings in experimentation are slightly more pronounced and noticeable than before. It ends up sounding more or less like their attempts at widening their sound from 2011’s Leveler
. They are still well integrated however, as strange as it can sound when a bouncy folk interlude with jaunty violin interrupts the furious riffing in “Separating the Seas.”
Other differences crop up with the only use of clean vocals, courtesy of a guest appearance from A Day To Remember’s Jeremy McKinnon. He appears for a quick chorus to brighten the melancholic, brooding “Ghosts.” The main change Found…
makes apparent throughout the exhausting listen is a darker tone and more varied tempos. “Broken Promises” and “Vanguard” are among their longest cuts to date, scaling back on the aggression for a more mid-tempo, moodier effect. “The Wake” features most of what the album has to offer, however. The rapid-fire opener begins with chromatic guitar riffing all over the fretboard alongside furious drumming, which throughout the album manages to sound like something from a melodic death metal band. A breakdown follows, and then a tapping guitar solo. It serves as a familiar display of their sound, and of what the album contains overall. It doesn’t take long for August Burns Red to start showing their best qualities, however. Lead single “Identity” features the usual effective lead guitar harmonies, soloing, and heavy riffing before a quieter, atmospheric passage with a climbing bassline and quiet guitar strumming takes over, eventually climaxing with a beautiful classic rock sounding solo.
continues the increased use of strings, acoustic guitar, and other various instruments similar to Rescue & Restore
. They’re a welcome change of pace, but the most impactful moments are largely on their established strength as song writers. “Majoring in the Minors” and “Everlasting Ending” carry the weight of the album, with heartwrenching vocal and guitar performances that end up being among the most impactful of their career. It’s a veritable strength of August Burns Red to keep improving their furious modern metal sound with the weight and passion always existing behind the whole formula, with crushing guitar riffing, beautiful melodic passages, and a profound meaning weighing behind the musical backdrop.