August Burns Red – Guardians

So AUGUST BURNS RED has a new album out titled Guardians, available everywhere via Fearless Records. Hailing from right here in Pennsylvania these boys are considered local heroes, and with good reason. Homegrown talent is always cool to watch get bigger and better, as they have with each record and tour. The quintet of JB Brubaker, Brent Rambler (lead and rhythm guitar respectively), Matt Greiner (drums), Jake Luhrs (lead vocals), and Dustin Davidson (bass) has never been content to rest on its laurels, so in news that surprise pretty much no one, the album is a solid asskicker from start to finish.

Right out of the gate opener “The Narrative” and single “Bones” go full tilt and show the band ain’t fuckin’ around. “Paramount” has one of the coolest intros you’ll hear in 2020, and when the song kicks in you’ll likely love it as much as I do. This is an album favorite without question, and the build-up to the climax is wonderful. “Defender” (which also boasts an outstanding video) is a hybrid of classic ABR meets the newer sound and it works brilliantly. Breakdown fanatics will be wetting themselves when they hear this one. Remember, I’m not a particularly big Metalcore fan, with only a few exceptions. This band happens to be one of them, and to be honest they are without a doubt the best at what they do.

“Lighthouse” has such an anthemic feel to it you’d be hard-pressed not to pound your chest and bang your head, while “Dismembered Memory” serves as a reminder of just how good the musicianship in this band is. The guitar work is simultaneously crushing and serpentine, and the overall groove is smashing. I love this track as well as “Ties That Bind,” which is next. If ever there was a song that needed to be played live it is surely this one! The growls from Luhrs are downright evil on “Bloodletter” and the music is no less sinister. Meanwhile “Extinct By Instinct” is so melodic with an almost waltz-like quality, yet it brings the heavy in spades.

“Empty Heaven” is one of those tunes that reminds us again of just how good this band is at what they do. Talk about firing on all cylinders, well here it is. Closer “Three Fountains” takes us on a journey over six minutes and change, starting with a very atmospheric sound, then turning into a full-on banger, the whole time Greiner knowing when to go for it and precisely when to pull back as it shifts between both. Another fantastic song on a record full of them. At the end of the day Guardians is definitely one of my favorite offerings in the AUGUST BURNS RED catalog. How can it not be? It has something for fans old and new alike, and I guarantee they gain a bunch more with this one. Pick it up today and thank me later.


RATING: 9.5/10

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