August Burns Red
Phantom Anthem


4.5
superb

Review

by Christopher Geriak USER (69 Reviews)
October 8th, 2017 | 451 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The formula for success

It's no shock that August Burns Red have become a prominent figure in the metalcore scene since their formation in 2003. At this point in time, we've come to know what to expect from them as they've been reliant on almost the exact same formula with very few tweaks to their style since their debut. Of course this has led many of their detractors to complain that they've released the same album over and over again. Normally, this would be true, as the idea of relying on the same ideas several times over after every album would cause a band or artist to get stale and boring after a while. The audience gets smaller, the review scores get lower, and only the most dedicated fans would defend them at the cost of their sanity. However, August Burns Red have remained at a surprisingly steady pace since their previous two albums Rescue & Restore and Found In Far Away Places were received to high acclaim from both audiences and critics, and even a Grammy nomination.

Because here's the thing: August Burns Red, no matter how many times they repeat themselves, are fantastic at what they do and they just keep improving. Jake Luhrs' vocal performance seems to have aged like a fine wine over the years since his debut on Messengers, JB's and Brent's guitar work and Dustin's bass has steadily evolved after every album, and Matt's drumming has gotten more and more energetic every year. Over the years, their records have them increasing the ambition and dialing up the progression after every album while making small changes to keep it interesting. Phantom Anthem, the group's seventh studio album (eighth if you include Sleddin' Hill), of course, has them continuing that progression. If there is one major change to Phantom Anthem compared to the band's previous records, it's that there is more of a 'back to roots' style. While R&R was focused more on technicality and FIFAP had ambition and experimentation, this album more or less utilizes more effort on the guitar work and melodies, a similar approach found on Constellations. The guitar solos and song intros deliver a more uplifting vibe on songs like 'Float' and 'The Frost', carrying more of an emotional heft that is helped by Luhrs' vocals. There's even some moments of “clean” vocals (they aren't exactly clean vocals, but they aren't the harsh screaming that Luhrs usually does) such as in 'Coordinates'. Of course that's not to say that ABR haven't backed down on their breakdowns either. The heaviness is still as present as every other record they've come out with, as the opener 'King of Sorrow' readily shows with its ferocious, neck-breaking guitar work, lead single 'Invisible Enemy' with it's breakdown-induced introduction and 'Quake' with it's near-perfect mixture of melody and brutality throughout the song's runtime.

Phantom Anthem is yet another solid statement onto August Burns Red's fourteen year career as one of the most distinguishable metalcore acts out there. Some are certainly going to claim it as another formulaic album to an already formulaic discography, but in ABR's case, there really is nothing wrong with that because the band manages to keep improving after every record. The changes are small but significant which causes the music to evolve ever so slowly within time. Sure, August Burns Red might change their style in the near future, it's practically inevitable. But for the time being, Phantom Anthem manages to deliver a satisfying 54-minutes of neck-snapping, hardcore metal goodness that will certainly make an impression over this year in metal.



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user ratings (314)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
Chamberbelain (3)
Well, it's just typical August Burns Red....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Toondude10
October 8th 2017


11730 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Brushing off dust at the point so this write-up is probably rough as hell.



Album is great though.

Digging: Machine Head - The Blackening

DrGonzo1937
Contributing Reviewer
October 8th 2017


13703 Comments


Good to see you reviewing again, toon. Nice rev. Pos

Toondude10
October 8th 2017


11730 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thnx. I wasn't sure if I was ever going to review anything ever again but since no one hasn't done this one yet, figured why not. Plus I'm leaving my job in a couple weeks so I'm probably going to have more time.

BlackwaterPork
October 8th 2017


2423 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review

Digging: Onyx - All We Got Iz Us

SowingSeason
Moderator
October 8th 2017


25162 Comments


Good review, glad to see you back reviewing!

Digging: Belle and Sebastian - How To Solve Our Human Problems Pt. 1

Muse1748
October 8th 2017


173 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Love this album. Have a pos

Cryio
October 8th 2017


116 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review mate. I was eagerly awaiting their new album. Been a fan of theirs ever since Messengers. That's a long time, damn.

Toondude10
October 8th 2017


11730 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

been a fan since their first album

TundraL5Z
October 8th 2017


498 Comments


I remember really liking Far Away Places, will be sure to check it out

Digging: The Dear Hunter - All Is As All Should Be

bloc
October 8th 2017


45317 Comments


Excited to hear this one, but not as much as new TBDM. Battle of the 4.5s!

Digging: Flotsam and Jetsam - Doomsday for the Deceiver

Gyromania
October 8th 2017


23771 Comments


Lol this band... Ugh

Mort.
Contributing Reviewer
October 8th 2017


13356 Comments


good review

Digging: Slint - Spiderland

Evokaphile
October 8th 2017


6504 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Sweet, im jazzed to jam this now

Digging: Less Art - Strangled Light

kingjulian
October 8th 2017


1456 Comments


Been wanting an ABR record where the guitars are really let loose. Seems like they finally made it, so that's cool.

Beardog
October 8th 2017


1634 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice, excited as always for a new record by these dudes

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
October 8th 2017


55389 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

This is probably a hard 2.5 like all their other albums

Digging: Dad Thighs - The Ghosts That I Fear

Beardog
October 8th 2017


1634 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Judging from the singles, they didn't really change their sound so I guess you're right

FearThyEvil
October 8th 2017


15379 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

album brings the snooze

Willie
Moderator
October 8th 2017


17312 Comments

Album Rating: 3.3

I like this. It's another ABR album, and that's never bad. Nice review too. Congrats on the feature and shit.

Shoegazefan9789
October 8th 2017


721 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Pos'd, great review



I really dug FIFAP, hopefully I'll dig this. Invisible Enemy is a solid track



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