Release Date: Jun 21, 2011
Record label: Solid State Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative Metal, Heavy Metal
Over the years, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, quintet August Burns Red have crafted a signature brand of metalcore that challenges the genre’s status quo, and the band’s fourth album pushes the envelope even further. Leveler sees the band returning to (and exceeding) the heaviness of their 2007 album, Messengers, while crafting its most ambitious songs to date. The second track here, “Internal Cannon,” begins with the group’s distinctive oddly timed breakdowns and technical guitar work, but then transitions into a Latin-sounding clean section.
Structured, paced and technically advanced, August Burns Red are still leagues above most of the genre... Having been in the game for almost a decade, Pennsylvania quintet August Burns Red have always represented a fresher take on metalcore – mostly because they advance their sound with every release they do. There are clear links here with 09 album ‘Constellations’ (in part, because both are crushingly heavy), but when you place that record alongside lead tracks ‘Empire’, ‘Panagea’ and ‘Cutting The Ties’, you hear melodies coming through on the vocals and guitars that they haven’t matched before.
Applying the “Christian” tag to your music can oftentimes be a red flag for music fans, especially in the world of heavy metal where it’s all about exploring extremes both musically and lyrically. While on the surface it would appear that separating themselves from the most cultish and brutal world of heavy metal with a faith-influenced message would be limiting for most bands, metalcore quintet August Burns Red have found freedom in it. On their fourth album, Leveler, August Burns Red have continued on in the exploratory tradition of the bands before them, but rather than finding new and darker ways to add menace to their sound, they’ve pushed into brighter, more uplifting territories.
Review Summary: August Burns Red as August Burns Red in Leveler.When '80s cross-over bands laid the groundwork for the idea of metalcore it's hard to postulate any scenario in which they would have been able to predict what it has become today. Same thing goes to the bands like Unbroken and Integrity that were among the first to definitively play the style because these days metalcore is a hell of a lot more about the metal than the hardcore. Really the only things that have carried over from the early days are a damning penchant for breakdowns and gang chants.