August Burns Red – Constellations
Release Date: July 14, 2009
Record Label: Solid State
Sometimes it seems that everyone is clamoring for change. August Burns Red isn’t like everyone though, as their brand of metal continues to keep the basics intact, aiming to fine-tune their sound instead of reinventing the wheel. And that’s okay. Just because you make something different doesn’t mean it’s a good idea (see: Strawberry and peanut butter M&M’s). And on their third album for Solid State, Constellations, ABR keeps the beat going – but this time with more signatures, more sweeping picks, and more power.
August Burns Red believes in two things: 1. Jesus and 2. Breakdowns. And there are plenty of those throughout Constellations. “Thirty and Seven” kicks off the brouhaha with fury, as vocalist Jake Luhrs shreds his vocals while guitarists JB Brubaker and Brent Rambler noodle into a devastating breakdown. Quite frankly, the first five tracks of Constellations include balls-to-the-wall speed and aggressiveness. The most notable improvement is the improved skills of drummer Matt Greiner.
The bruising “White Washed” features breakdowns galore, while “Marinas Trench” draws you in with a gentle intro before dropping you faster than Michael Bisping at UFC 100. Throughout Constellations, ABR does a fine job of interjecting riffs in with breakdowns to keep the pace consistent. “Indonesia” scorches with some vocal help from Between The Buried and Me’s Tommy Rogers and timely breakdowns. “Meridian” is easily the weakest track, as it slows down Constellations and drags on for no good reason. Thankfully, “Rationalist” picks it up with riveting guitar work from Brubaker and Rambler. Closer “Crusades” does what “Meridian” failed to do – find the right balance between going all out and slowing down for emphasis.
While Luhrs doesn’t have exceptional vocal range, he rips it on each track; bringing an energy not many vocalists in the genre can match. Musically, each member is a master of his trade while, creatively, the album includes a lot of “been there, done that.” Lyrically, the themes involve drowning, isolation, and overall are pretty vague, leaving it up to the listener to interpret. But while some will refer to Constellations as redundancy, I see it as consistency. Will this album win over new fans? Probably not. But will it please the current followers of ABR? You bet. August Burns Red bring it every time they release an album, and so far, Constellations is the pinnacle of their career.
I was at Hot Topic, and this employee was hanging up the plastic casing that advertised their shirt. It flew off the wall and nearly hit her face. We all laughed about it and were like, "If it was Linkin Park or Brokencyde we could've been like, 'wow, even the wall doesn't want them.'"
Anyway, I take that incident as a sign not to buy this album. Sorry, Drew! Please forgive me.
I'll have to disagree with you Drew, I think "Meridian" is one of the stronger tracks, and I enjoyed the direction it took before the last three "beatdowns" of the album...definitely their best yet...as the album goes along, I think it also gets better...in other words, it opens with what you expect, and grows into something more.
I still haven't listened to the MySpace stream or the leak and I'm impatiently waiting for my pre-order to arrive. But I'm glad to see that it's their best album yet, and the review was a great read. So stoked for this, my favorite band for sure.
good review and I agree with the score. It is a good album, and a step up musically from messengers. Overall though there is not a lot of variation in the songs. You pretty much know what to expect, but they do still deliver it well. Good drumming, production fits their style.
Nothing new or ground breaking but a decent listen. 7/10.