August Burns Red - 'Guardians'

AUGUST BURNS RED // Guardians // Released April 2020

Reviewed by: Todd Jay

Upholding artistic pillars of tightly wound technical proficiency, airtight grooves, and pensive lyricism, August Burns Red fulfill a quiet, yet staunch 17-year commitment to a die-hard audience worldwide. The two-time GRAMMY® Award-nominated Pennsylvania quintet have preserved this level of integrity since first emerging in 2003. Band Members:

Jacob Luhrs – Vocals

JB Brubaker – Lead Guitar

Brent Rambler – Rhythm Guitar

Dustin Davidson – Bass

Matt Greiner – Drums

...everything about the way the songs are assembled is so balanced and well produced that it blasts the senses in many different ways.

#TruthTime I am biased.

August Burns Red is one of my favorite bands over the last 10 years (been listening for 15 years) I have REALLY identified with their material over the last ten, the lyrics are my spirit animal. With all that is going on recently (April 2020) I was one of the fortunate few that were able to catch them on their Guardians 2020 tour as the North American leg was cut after two shows (Cleveland and Grand Rapids) and boy were they poised to have a great run with Killswitch Engage (Luhrs stated to me before the show that "He's been really looking forward to this tour"). As a warm-up to Killswitch, ABR hit the stage and whipped the famed Cleveland Agora into a frenzy on March 10 and the crowd got a chance to preview a few of the new songs. Amazing night left me on 0 (zero) hours of sleep before heading to the airport for vacation and worth every single second.

Not only has this powerhouse band evolved, this CD has the maturity to match ABR leads the Metalcore genre like a CEO leads a multi-billion dollar company. This Lancaster, Pennsylvania group of musicians have crafted a mental health session that is desperately needed in 2020! Their ninth studio CD entitled Guardians (as Luhrs growls in the song Defender) "Delivers the Sentence" for sure. I keep trying to find SOMETHING to "make an industry statement" to feign superiority or comprehension of the material, but everything about the way the songs are assembled is so balanced and well produced that it blasts the senses in many different ways.

As I listened I would pick up on Greiners drumming and think OH! there, he stands out! Then Brubaker, Rambler and Davidson lay down ethereal string work and I think NO! THERE it is! and out of nowhere Luhrs shows his steely veteran resolve and controls every growl, every scream like a surgeon controls a scalpel. Legit how can this band get any better? If you don't care for this song? Give it 3 minutes, I guarantee you will LOVE the next.

The first track up is 'The Narrative', what struck me out of the gate was Greiners drumming, the production of his sound on this CD is unlike any of his other production. Lyrics uttered such as "put that spin on it" are so meaningful right now. Luhrs vocals fit in very well in all of these songs, they are like another instrument in the layer and so smooth (even in guttural screams). The best part of 'Bones' in my opinion are the time shifts and how the song was assembled to display the rhythms both vocally and instrumentally, their breakdowns are tight and tasty. There are some familiar sounds in there and like a f