Over the past few years August Burns Red’s brand of technical metalcore has become synonymous with the adjectives “pummeling” and “intense”. These descriptions aren’t given to them based purely on the fact that they are simply heavier than most bands. August Burns Red has always inspired a feeling entropy, and that of being attacked by the instrumentation of the tracks. For the course of 3 albums they have been expanding on this formula of mixing the technicality of metal with the in-your-face aspects of hardcore, getting better at it with every release, with their latest effort Constellations being the most critically acclaimed of them all. Now the Pennsylvania quintet are getting ready to follow up their beloved album with Leveler, which is due out June 21st on Solid State Records. If their newest song “Empire” is any indication of what’s to come, then it’s clear that once again August Burns Red has topped their previous effort.
Beginning with a claustrophobic riff, “Empire” wastes no time in getting started. The dueling guitars of JB Brubaker and Brent Rambler accompany vocalist Jake Luhrs’ guttural scream, which creates the perfect combination of intensity that August Burns Red fans have come to love. The band effortlessly uses the guitars to transition from one sound to another, making their original songwriting work, which is something most bands in the genre seem to have trouble doing.
One of the main aspects that makes this band so beloved is the fast and furious drumming from Matt Greiner, which is not absent in “Empire”. Greiner’s passion is felt in his drumming, and without a doubt, so is his skill. In particular what makes Greiner’s drumming so special and crucial to the band, is his ability to show off his skill while still saying true to the song. Unlike most drummers in the genre who end up seeming out of place, Greiner’s drums will always mix perfectly with what the rest of the members are doing, and still manages to become the center of attention.
“Empire” also gives a little taste of the ambition that Leveler might bring in. Halfway through the track, frontman Jake Luhrs leads in a choir for the most anthem-like moment seen in any August Burns Red track to date. Bringing a sense of catchiness, the choir shows off the ambition the band has brought with them in Leveler, which could easily help them blow their previous releases out of the water.
Once again August Burns Red is on the road to improvement. Staying true to a sound, while still getting better at it with every release is something most bands wish they could do, regardless of the genre, but yet August Burns Red seems to do it so effortlessly. With a sound that has been imitated dozens of times in the past years it is no doubt that August Burns Red is quickly becoming one of the most influential bands in the metalcore scene, but with “Empire” and hopefully the rest of Leveler they are sure to stay as one of the best of the metalcore scene.