Few metalcore bands are able to combine quality music with immense popularity like Pennslyvania’s August Burns Red. The band’s new record, Phantom Anthem, is their 7th full-length overall – yet it boasts some of the strongest material of ABR’s career to date. “The Frost” is worth the price of admission alone. However, quality alone doesn’t always translate into major success.
Of all the bands in the metalcore genre today, few are as consistently and technically good as August Burns Red. Skillful musicians and generally void of lyrical cliches, they’re the rare band that is both commercially and critically successful, headlining their own sold-out tours while also experimenting outside of the conventions of metalcore. In that regard, they’re oddly similar to hard rock heroes Chevelle.
The band’s 7th full-length album, Phantom Anthem, is poised to be their most successful yet. Adeptly combining memorable lyrics of passion and triumph with the musical proficiency they are known for, August Burns Red continue to raise the bar for their peers with each album. This is no exception. The band premiered a new track, “The Frost”, which you can find below. We’re out of icy jokes for this one, so let the music do the talking.
Every two years since 2005, there’s a few events that are guaranteed to happen in the world, like clockwork. No, it’s not the New England Patriots winning a Super Bowl every 2 years (though it might seem like it), and it’s not your neighbor from high school having yet another child (wait, it probably is) – it’s actually August Burns Red releasing another album that, at worst, is solid – and sometimes, even great. There’s always a safe floor for the metalcore veterans, and every time out you know they’re capable of raising the bar.
The band recently premiered a new song, “Invisible Enemy”, which is off their upcoming album Phantom Anthem. The band’s 7th full-length overall, it’s likely to be another hit album for a band that mainly stays in their comfort zone, but are also prone to take some serious risks, musically speaking. You’ll just have to listen for yourself.
Six full-lengths deep into their career and with a huge fanbase to boot, metalcore veterans August Burns Red have never lacked for consistency. Sure, you can argue that maybe 2011’s Leveler was a weaker album from the band (it’s still solid, though!), and maybe their debut Thrill Seeker was a bit uneven. The band is about to head out on tour early in 2017 celebrating their 2007 landmark album Messengers. It remains a great album even today, and remains super influential to many of the current crop of popular metalcore bands.
However, their 2009 album Constellations, at least in this listener’s mind, is their most important – arguably their finest hour so far, actually. I say this for a few reasons, but the big one is that Constellations was such an improvement from Messengers, both on a technical level, as well as from a lyrical standpoint. One of the few problems with their previous work was that there were too many breakdowns, as well as their songwriting being underdeveloped. For a band that young at the time, you could forgive that – but it’s Constellations where you could feel the ambition they had to break out of the pack. The album is at its best when it’s more controlled – tracks like “White Washed” and “Marianas Trench” do this well with slow, controlled intros, before breaking out into more standard ABR fare. BTBAM vocalist Tommy Rogers even makes a vocal appearance in album standout “Indonesia”. It’s that willingness to experiment with different ideas that made Leveler an interesting album (seriously, listen to “Internal Cannon”), but also paved the way for some of their best songs (“Spirit Breaker”, “Beauty In Tragedy”, and “Ghosts” in particular).
Many fans will likely always point to Messengers or maybe 2013’s perfected formula Rescue And Restore as being their favorite ABR albums. I can’t say I blame them, as Messengers is a nostalgic throwback to a simpler time, while Rescue And Restore is arguably their most bold and ambitious album. But Constellations is the moment in time where the band decided to up the game a lot, and a sea of copycat bands are still trying to catch up.
Side note. Metalcore band drinking game – take a drink every time you see a metalcore band in a music video in the forest, woods, or a desert. You’ll be plastered pretty quickly.