Gone are the days when musicians and bands would sell hundreds of thousands of records in their first week of release. Well, for the most part, anyway. Silver, Gold, and especially Platinum certifications, even in the age of streaming as the primary mode of musical consumption, have been harder to come by for rock and metal artists.
That being said, selling a million records in your entire career to date, especially for a metal band, is a big time accomplishment. With the release of their new full-length Guardians on Fearless Records, metalcore vets August Burns Red have done just that.
Two-time GRAMMY® Award-nominated Pennsylvania quintet AUGUST BURNS RED — JB Brubaker [lead guitar], Brent Rambler [rhythm guitar], Matt Greiner [drums], Jake Luhrs [lead vocals], and Dustin Davidson [bass] — have released their latest full-length, Guardians, through Fearless Records. The album impressively debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hard Music Albums chart, the Rock Albums chart, and the Vinyl Albums chart upon release – all despite the coronavirus pandemic shuttering their ability to tour. You know, the thing the metalcore band is known for. Shout out to our friends at Music Mayhem for dropping this knowledge on us.
Today, I had the pleasure of speaking to Jake Luhrs, vocalist of August Burns Red, just ahead of their eighth studio album, Guardians, releasing on April 3rd.
Mike: My first heavy concert was you guys at Summerfest 2010 in Milwaukee. The crowd all stood on the bleachers to get a good look at you. What’s the strangest venue setup you’ve ever played? Jake Luhrs: I recall early on playing a house show in Pittsburgh in a basement. Everyone was shoulder-to-shoulder, it was SUPER hot. If there was a fire, we’d all be in trouble! The metal scene was so hungry back then that no one even cared.
Mike: What are some current young bands that you’d love to have on tour? Jake: Polaris, Fit for a King, and Silent Planet. These bands are on the cusp of being the biggest names in the newest wave of metalcore. There was a period of time where everyone was trying to sound like someone else, but these bands are absolutely doing their own thing.
Mike: Your band is known for its eclectic music videos, ex. “Invisible Enemy”s puppetry and “Defender”s comic book art. What kind of music video would you like to shoot in the future? Jake: I really enjoy going for something unique, something that’s never been done before. We really liked doing the one for “Frost”. One that sticks out to me is Parkway Drive’s “Vice Grip” where they jumped out of a plane. That would scare the hell out of me!
Mike: ABR has released instrumental/remixed albums in recent years. Can we expect an instrumental Guardians and/or a remix of Leveler? Jake: Oh, you know what, I guess it is coming up on ten years for Leveler! I would put my money on getting a Guardians instrumental; we like to get people into the genre without (the detraction of) my voice (laughs).
Mike: You’ve inspired tons of bands the past 15 years. What bands did you grow up loving? Jake: Hopesfall’s No Wings to Speak Of EP was my first metal album. I loved the vocalist’s ability to convey pain, anguish, and heartbreak. That period of time was when the sound was just beginning to take off and they were a pioneer of American metalcore. I also love Norma Jean; Josh Scogin is a LEGEND for the evolution of heavy, aggressive screaming. Poison the Well, 7 Angels 7 Plagues, and As I Lay Dying stick out as well!
A massive thank you goes out to Jake for taking the time to speak to me. Jake is hosting a listening party of August Burns Red’s Guardians at twitch.tv/heartsupport at 1PM EST this Friday, April 3rd. He’ll be going in-depth on the lyrical content and making of this new album. HeartSupport is Jake’s admirable undertaking to combat addiction, suicide ideation, and other adversities. This is a foundation we can all get behind and is worth taking a look into.
Stream August Burns Red’s Guardians this Friday, April 3rd!
August Burns Red have cemented themselves as one of the most consistently solid bands in all of metalcore. Many of their records could be considered their overall best – from 2007’s Messengers to even Rescue and Restore – but it’s the band’s overall consistency in their genre that really makes them a crowd favorite. It’s not for nothing they’re about to tour with Killswitch Engage, for instance.
The band’s new single, “Bones”, is another catchy single that doesn’t stray far from what ABR does best – riff-heavy, melodic metalcore with a powerful vocal performance from Jake Luhrs. Don’t believe us? Listen to “Bones” below.