EP Review: August Burns Red – Guardian Sessions (Fearless Records)

Twice Grammy-nominated band August Burns Red — JB Brubaker [lead guitar], Brent Rambler [rhythm guitar], Matt Greiner [drums], Jake Luhrs [lead vocals], and Dustin Davidson [bass] — have been sharing previously unreleased tracks, such as a cover of System of a Down’s ‘Chop Suey!’ and their metalized rendition of the theme song for the HBO series Westworld, over the past several months.

Today, the Lancaster-based band revealed that these songs (and more) will live on the Guardians Sessions EP.

The EP features B-sides, covers, and reimagined tracks, which were recorded during the sessions for 2020’s full-length album Guardians and beyond. The Guardians Sessions EP will be released digitally and on 10″ vinyl on April 16th 2021 through Fearless Records.

We love August Burns Red and see them as really leading the modern charge of metalcore. It’s not just their incredible Christmas-themed efforts though, as Guardians was one of our top albums of 2020. Being gifted more August Burns Red in 2021? Yes fucking please.

Made up of two ‘cut’ songs from Guardians. Two covers and two reimagined efforts from the aforementioned album, there’s plenty on offer here.

First up is Standing in the Storm and it does make sense upon hearing it as to why it wasn’t included on Guardians. A lower tempo start that heavily features a more melodic side of August Burns Red, it kicks into a higher metalcore gear and becomes a more traditional sounding effort but later, drops the tempo again for a really cool segment. It’s a damn fine tracks.

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Following that is Icarus, where a bit more technicality is showcased in the guitars and the drums absolutely absorb. A crunchy and familiar August Burns Red effort, it speaks volumes that even their b-sides are top shelf stuff.

Always up for a cover or two, the iconic but horribly overplayed Chop Suey is given the August Burns Red cover treatment. It’s fun and they add some extra heavy stank to proceedings. Credit to Jake Luhrs for even trying to sing a song led by the legendary Serj Tankian. Whereas their cover of the main theme of the sci-fi show, Westworld is highly unusual but not unexpected for this band. How you feel about said theme will likely affect your feelings for this one. Caring little for it, it can be at least said that August Burns Red deliver a kick-ass heavy instrumental.

It’s the latter two tracks that really bring something exciting though as both Paramount and Extinct By Instinct were absolute ragers on Guardians. So to get two reimagined versions is something all August Burns Red fans will be dying to hear.

Expect the unexpected though as always. Both Paramount (Reprise) and Extinct By Instinct (Reprise) feature frantic acoustic guitar strumming at the forefront. However, the melodic touches and echoing tone of the overall instrumentation is a major factor in the enjoyment of both.

It’s an EP for the fans, that much is clear and there’s nothing that can be described as a ‘must listen’ here but it is a quality EP. Plenty of variety, some interesting ideas and some unique August Burns Red offerings.

August Burns Red – The Guardians Sessions Full Track Listing:

1. Standing in the Storm
2. Icarus
3. Chop Suey (System of A Down Cover)
4. Westworld Theme
5. Paramount (Reprise)
6. Extinct By Instinct (Reprise)




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August Burns Red - Guardian Sessions (Fearless Records)
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