Music: an expression of humanity, escape, a soundtrack to life, deep passion….
August Burns Red are seasoned metalcore veterans at this point in their career. And to that end I will say I’ve mostly ignored them. I like the band. They’re a metalcore band without clean vocals and that’s always a plus in my book. I own all their albums. But they aren’t a band I’ve ever really been in love with. Their brand of metalcore, while enjoyable to listen to, isn’t anything new or exciting and I do honestly find most of their songs interchangeable with one another. I like the band, but I’ve never connected with ABR.
So I wasn’t sure what to expect with the band’s fourth full-length, Leveler. It sounds like August Burns Red. The songs play a little more straight forward then previous ABR records (less starts and stops, less rhythm and tempo changing). But overall, it’s August Burns Red.
Empire starts with a riff that reminds me of Zao’s Physician Heal Thyself before tearing off into a standard ABR metalcore track. Internal Cannon switches things up. There’s a cool little Spanish guitar riff thrown in the middle of the track and it’s an awesome new twist in ABR’s music. Divisions is a pretty mathy track, the drums seem to be playing in their own time signature creating a cool effect.
I’ve always personally been a fan of the slower, mellower ABR tracks, so Carpe Diem is one of my favorite tracks on Leveler. Slow building intro, a doom esque breakdown. Salt & Light didn’t really capture my ear until the track fades away and the clean guitar plays while Jake Luhrs screams behind it “We sing for you”. Poor Millionaire’s intro is what I feel has become a standard on ABR album, where at least one track starts with a drums only intro.
Lyrically Leveler seems pretty focused. The songs all carry a similar theme about moving forward in life, past the pain and finding redemption in God.
Overall Leveler is solid. A good record and ABR fans won’t be disappointed. There are some really cool moments that I love but again, it’s not mind blowing. Another solid record from August Burns Red but not enough to blow me away.