Bloody hell do August Burns Red love Christmas. Having released a full and excellent Christmas covers album in 2014 called August Burns Red Presents: Sleddin’ Hill, A Holiday Album they are back with a six track EP, called Winter Wilderness.
Does it capture the Christmas feel while still retaining the metalcore sound the band normally deal out? Yes, yes it does. In fact it fixes the major problem I had with the 2014 album which was too long, this is only six tracks long and is bloody great. It combines three of their previous holiday releases and three new ones.
You can read our review of August Burns Red Presents: Sleddin’ Hill, A Holiday Album here.
I love rock and metal Christmas EPs and albums. There’s something so fun in seeing our music embrace the spirit of the holiday season even if it’s often played up for laughs. I enjoy it even more when a band takes it seriously, wanting to retain the Christmas feel while also making sure they sound just like themselves. That is exactly what August Burns Red do and this EP is dangerously close to knocking my favourite Christmas release of its number one perch. Halford III: Winter Songs in case any was wondering.
The opener Avalanche is gloriously heavy, flashes of brutal blast-beats but feels so winter-time you might even shiver. Here, August Burns Red show off their ability to blend fast-paced metal with soft guitar melody that touches the heart and it is near a perfect opener for a Christmas release.
It’s the Most Wonderful Time of The Year that gets the hyper-pace treatment next. The drums absolutely knocking this one out of the park while the guitars keep the familiar sound of the tune right at the forefront. All before the best track on the EP comes out to throw some hefty snowballs our way. The title track is an instant Christmas metal classic with riffs that would make Santa throw down in the nearest pit.
However, maybe you’re hoping for a bit more cheese. Well, fear not as we get a rousing metalcore rendition of the Home Alone Theme. It’s utterly brilliant how August Burns Red takes such a famous tune and turns it into a track every metalhead would have fun losing their mind too.
If the EP is lacking anywhere it’s with a cover What Child is This? (Greensleeves) that rarely works but August Burns Red certainly gives it a damn fine shot. Blending ferocity with lovable melody gives it a party feel.
Everyone’s favourite Wham song wraps things up as August Burns Red turn Last Christmas into a raging pit of guitars and drums. A fun finale that doesn’t mess the with formula set out so far ensuring you’re ending this EP with a big smile and a bit more Christmas cheer in your life.
August Burns Red – Winter Wilderness Full Track Listing:
2. It’s the Most Wonderful Time of The Year
3. Winter Wilderness
4. Home Alone Theme
5. What Child Is This? (Greensleeves)
6. Last Christmas
August Burns Red: Winter Wilderness (Fearless Records)
The Final Score - 8/10