Album Review: August Burns Red – Death Below (SharpTone Records)

Death Below is the tenth studio album by American metalcore band August Burns Red. It will be released on March 24, 2023, through SharpTone Records.

Ten albums in, the metalcore giant that is August Burns Red enter a new phase having signed with SharpTone Records in 2022. Three years since the release of the excellent Guardians, the group are back with another slab of head-banging and heavy metalcore in the form of Death Below.

An album that has some imaginative ideas but doesn’t push the boundaries too much. If you’ve been a fan of August Burns Red up to this point, you’re going to get along with this record easily. Even if it’s sometimes not the most thrilling piece of work.

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That criticism can be levied at the opening of the album as the intro of Premonition, where melody and spoken-word style vocals lead into The Cleansing. One of two tracks that almost reach the eight-minute mark. Unlike the other, this one is not an immediate hit, even if the crunch, crash and melodies of the instruments and vocals deliver August Burns Red familiarity. It’s a grower of a track though, one that really needs time and several listens to appreciate.

The first of several guests then arrive as Killswitch Engage’s Jesse Leech guests on Ancestry and Born of Osiris/Chelsea Grin’s Jason Richardson guests on Tightrope. Both tracks deliver pounding slices of complex riffing and ferocious vocals. The exciting elements of this album becoming more and more prominent. August Burn Reds doing what they do best and proving that they can work with anyone and still produce bangers.

With Fool’s Fold in the Bear Trap, we get a wicked blend of thick bass and melody that gets heavy near the end and transitions into Backfire. Nothing too outlandish here from August Burns Red but that just means it’s a solid slab of core that has widespread appeal. Consistent hard hitters from a hard-hitting band, featuring some strong riffs, exceptional drumming, and throat-tearing vocals.

It’s certainly a very consistent album too as Revival has some intense blast beats, Sevink is a melodic and atmospheric intermission, Dark Divide has some of the heaviest groove moments of the entire album, and Deadbolt goes bigger in all departments for something that sounds particularly epic.

Finally, it’s Erra’s JT Cavey and Underoath’s Spencer Chamberlain to help close out another solid release from August Burns Red. The former appearing on The Abyss, a dark descent into foolhardy heaviness where a savage blast of energy buoys the mind, body and spirit. Whereas the latter appears on the massive finale of Reckoning.

Something quite extensive from August Burns Red, even if it’s got all the metalcore moving, spitting, snarling, and raging parts of the band we have all come to love. Spencer Chamberlain adding some awesomely different vibes to the experience. It’s a journey of a track, with some exceptional building towards a climax and a breakdown that is just fantastic.

August Burns Red – Death Below Track Listing:

1. Premonition
2. The Cleansing
3. Ancestry (feat. Jesse Leach)
4. Tightrope (feat. Jason Richardson)
5. Fool’s Gold in the Bear Trap
6. Backfire
7. Revival
8. Sevink
9. Dark Divide
10. Deadbolt
11. The Abyss (feat. JT Cavey)
12. Reckoning (feat. Spencer Chamberlain)


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  • Carl Fisher

    Owner/Administrator/Editor/Writer/Interviewer/YouTuber - you name it, I do it. I love gaming, horror movies, and all forms of heavy metal and rock. I'm also a Discworld super-fan and love talking all things Terry Pratchett. Do you wanna party? It's party time!

August Burns Red - Death Below (SharpTone Records)
  • The Final Score - 8/10
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