August Burns Red
Phantom Anthem


3.0
good

Review

by Chamberbelain CONTRIBUTOR (188 Reviews)
October 14th, 2017 | 93 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Well, it's just typical August Burns Red.

Miraculously, August Burns Red have ridden the rising tide of metalcore and survived the rapid decline of the genre for fourteen years and still remain one of the most prominent names in metalcore. Although most of their albums have a tendency to sound like one another, each album is powerful and bursting full of raw talent within its own right and, ironically, by not altering their successful formula, they have managed to evade any major criticism. With that kind of success, should they even bother trying to expand their style and should we expect anything different on their seventh album"

Nope.

August Burns Red unashamedly follow the exact same route that their previous albums have carved out for them. Across “Phantom Anthem”, the song structures are rigid, the vocals are single-minded and the band’s explosive breakdowns and the dexterity of JB Brubaker and Brent Rambler’s skills on the fretboard remain the key focus of the band’s songs and admittedly, they do what they do very well. Every track sounds jagged, abrasive and displays a commanding vocal presence from Jake Lurhs and on the way down this familiar territory, August Burns Red does make a few turns where they introduce atmospheric moments, like the searching melodies and interludes in “Coordinates”, or channel some jiving djent in “King of Sorrow” and “The Frost”. Even though these fresh features introduce a small amount of experimentation into their formulaic tendencies, these interludes always ultimately revert to the established formula. Thus, the placement of each of these intermissions in each song becomes a systematic expectancy over the course of “Phantom Anthem”.

Despite the systematic approach, their tried-and-tested technique remains as potent as ever during some parts of this album. “Invisible Enemy” is a stand-out track where the Gojira-esque intro meanders into dominant riffs and powerful drumming with Lurhs’ screeches sounding as abrasive as ever. Additionally, the fact that August Burns Red have stuck to what they’re best at is an advantage in itself because they have mastered the art of not making every one of their breakdowns sound forced or as if they are an obligatory addition to the songs. “Quake” most effectively turns your stomach upside-down where the vocals maximise the impact by suddenly stopping after each verse so that there is a momentary pause before the driven riffs collide into imposing drums.

Naming the album “Phantom Anthem” broadcasts the overall product before it’s even been tested. Naturally, the majority of the songs on this album display an uplifting, unifying and anthemic temperament. “Generations”, with its politically driven anger, ends climatically with clean vocals beneath a shower of meandering melodies. Some enjoy it when a band picks unifying topics that force their audience to stand as one and sing about ‘lighting the fire inside’ and ‘opening your eyes’ (“Float”) but for others, the cliché lyrics we’ve already heard a thousand times spread across “Phantom Anthem” are about as effective as telling someone with depression to ‘just cheer up’.

“Messengers”, August Burns Red’s most popular album, recently turned 10 years old and it’s no surprise that the band seems to be drawing obvious influences from an album that earned them a title of being one of the best metalcore bands around- if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The problem is that it doesn’t sound like they’ve consciously tried to improve on that album since. How many times can we defend concurrent albums bands release by saying “oh it’s just typical ______” before realising- especially after a decade- that this method is actually pretty uninspiring"



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user ratings (403)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
Christopher Geriak (4.5)
The formula for success...



Comments:Add a Comment 
Evok
October 14th 2017


7206 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Solid review as always! Sums up how I feel about this record quite nicely.

Digging: Ritual Necromancy - Disinterred Horror

jesterhead92
October 14th 2017


4828 Comments


They got really boring after Thrill Seeker and have stayed that way consistently.

Confessed2005
October 14th 2017


4338 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good review.



It is true that they have relied on the same formula for years but they do the whole metalcore thing so well that I can't help but thoroughly enjoy them.

Digging: Thou - Inconsolable

trackbytrackreviews
October 14th 2017


3361 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

They got really boring after the very first song they wrote and have stayed that way consistently lel

Snake.
October 14th 2017


20742 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

awesome review



i don't understand why you don't have that contributor tag yet

SteakByrnes
October 14th 2017


12250 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Noice review my guy



i don't understand why you don't have that contributor tag yet [2]

Digging: Night Verses - From the Gallery of Sleep

BlackwaterPork
October 14th 2017


4170 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Someone negged this...

Digging: Nine Inch Nails - Bad Witch

MusicinaBox
October 16th 2017


648 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I feel like I'm the only one who really dislikes Invisible Enemy, to me the stalest track on the album. Good review, I like this album a lil more, but generally agree. Pos

SteakByrnes
October 16th 2017


12250 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I guarantee that the two negs are due to the score

Evok
October 16th 2017


7206 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Honestly this album is lucky to even have a 3/5. Its so by-the-ABR-book its depressing.

artiswar
October 16th 2017


4061 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

If there was more outside-the-box experimentation people would be whining about that too. It's a lose-lose situation for the band at this late point in their career.

SteakByrnes
October 16th 2017


12250 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The experimentation is what made R&R so good tho, but the last two albums have been so derivative of it

artiswar
October 16th 2017


4061 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I don't think that's what made it good, it was the riffs and songwriting. The random interludes were neat but gimmicky. And lets face it R&R was derivative of Constellations and Leveller just like this is.

SteakByrnes
October 16th 2017


12250 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

R&R is not derivative at all, they just perfected the sound that they were trying to achieve on Leveler. R&R sounds nothing like Constellations imo, R&R has much better songwriting, guitar work, and drum work, plus you can actually hear the bass on it. R&R is their best by far

artiswar
October 16th 2017


4061 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I won't argue with that but I'll add that if R&R perfected Leveller then I would say this album perfected Constellations. Well, you can't perfect something that's already perfect but it's nostalgic trip back to the style of lead work they had on that album.

SteakByrnes
October 16th 2017


12250 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Constellations is leagues above this tho. It had a Constellations feel to it but it's nowhere near as good to me

Gameofmetal
Staff Reviewer
October 16th 2017


10304 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Idk how you guys hear that much significant difference between their albums, they’re all basically the same just with varying execution and then they slowly kept tossing in weird/cool interludes and junk. All the metal bits are essentially the same.

Mort.
Contributing Reviewer
October 16th 2017


13963 Comments


its impossible to tell their shit apart unless your a fanboy who jams all their stuff regularly

Digging: Radiohead - The Bends

artiswar
October 16th 2017


4061 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@steak Yeah but I think it coming out in 2017 instead of 2009 has a lot to do with that. If this came out back then people would be a lot less burnt out on their sound.

artiswar
October 16th 2017


4061 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

When a band has a defined core sound that they stick to like ABR, even subtle changes are very noticeable. But I jam them all the time like you said.



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