Album Review: August Burns Red – Guardians (Fearless Records)

Every time August Burns Red record an album, the two times GRAMMY Award-nominated Pennsylvania quintet – John “JB” Brubaker [lead guitar], Brent Rambler [rhythm guitar], Matt Greiner [drums], Jake Luhrs [lead vocals] and Dustin Davidson [bass] push themselves harder, destroy expectations and reach a new level. It’s why they’ve become a heavy music torchbearer.

In 2015, Fearless Records debut Found In Far Away Places marked their second consecutive Top 10 on the Billboard Top 200. The single “Identity” notched a Grammy Award in the category of Best Metal Performance, and 2017’s Phantom Anthem also earned a Grammy nomination in the form of “Invisible Enemy”, setting itself apart with an innovative music video featuring puppet versions of the band.

For Guardians, the band has once again stepped up their game, delivering potentially their heaviest hitting album to date. With their last tour their largest, sold-out headline shows ever, 16 years into their career they are at biggest and show no signs of stopping.

Guardians will be released on the 3rd April 2020 via Fearless Records.

We love the metalcore monster that is August Burns Red. Be it their no-nonsense, heavy as balls metalcore groove or their embracing of the holiday season, they’re a band who always seem to deliver.

Guardians is no different either, the quintet continuing to defy all expectations with arguably their most intense and layered release yet.

The furious start of The Narrative gets Guardians of to a super-positive start. The amount of venom in the vocals is startling, the complexity of the riffs is stunning and the percussion is out of this world heavy. The chances of you not losing control and having a wild bout of head-banging with the breakdowns are very slim.

A highlight of the record, the aforementioned drums slay even more so Bones as there is a bit more restraint while being equally bone-crushing. The added touch of melody and powerful group vocals the icing on this delicious cake.

Ringing riffing introduces Paramount before August Burns Red erupt into their signature pacy metalcore sound. A head-banger that dares to be catchy as hell too. Whereas Defender is out and out ferocity, enough heavy to make the hairs on the body stand up straight. The breakdown here is utter chaos.

So damn good, it’s a welcome slower tempo (without a drop in the beastly heaviness) with a more melodic chorus in Lighthouse. Before the guitars shine brightly and poke sharply throughout Dismembered Memory and on the following Ties That Bind.

The pure unadulterated energy of August Burns Red’s efforts here is certainly not something to dismiss but what really makes Guardians such a special release is variety. From outright hardcore breakdowns, to melodic metal highs and savage death-metal style lows, August Burns Red show their versatility and it keeps the interest high as the latter part of the album drops the excellently smash-mouth Bloodletter and Extinct By Instinct.

Pushing hard to make sure Guardians goes down as one of, if not their best work, August Burns Red bring the head-banging groove for Empty Heaven. Before ending on a phenomenal effort that is somewhat ‘epic’. An uplifting metalcore melodic hit that fills the soul with warmth before encouraging a wild bout of head-banging.

We wouldn’t want it any other way. August Burns Red’s Guardians is a must-listen.

August Burns Red – Guardians Full Track Listing:

1. The Narrative
2. Bones
3. Paramount
4. Defender
5. Lighthouse
6. Dismembered Memory
7. Ties that Bind
8. Bloodletter
9. Extinct by Instinct
10. Empty Heaven
11. Three Fountains




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August Burns Red - Guardians (Fearless Records)
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