August Burns Red – Thrill Seeker
Release Date: November 8, 2005
Record Label: Solid State Records
Open those eyes.
These prophetic words are more than just the opening lyrics to one of the year’s best metalcore releases, they are a realization, a request, a warning. What you, the listener, are about to experience is 44 minutes of brutal, chaotic, and distinctive rock. This blast of energy comes from August Burns Red’s debut full-length Thrill Seeker on Solid State Records. Yes, that’s the same Solid State Records responsible for Haste the Day, Demon Hunter, and Dead Poetic. But if you open your CD packaging looking for a nice, accessible metalcore album with sing-along choruses, think again. It’s time to open those eyes.
Thrill Seeker holds nothing back. Each song is a masterpiece of harsh breakdowns, intertwined metal riffs, and furious vocals. The closest the band comes to singing is the strategic use of gang vocals in a select few songs. Songs have frequent time signature changes, transitioning from one breakdown to another staggered verse full of raw energy. Thrill Seeker is full of heart, as each song is unique and bleeds passion. The vocals are unpolished, yet demonstrate fantastic vocal control. From absolutely brutal screams to the gang vocal breakdown in “Endorphins,” August Burns Red doesn’t let up on the energy for one second. There’s barely even time to breathe on this record, and I guarantee many a neck will suffer from whiplash after blasting it at full volume.
August Burns Red manages to set them apart from other bands of their genre by having fantastic song variance. The best part about Thrill Seeker is despite it being very breakdown-heavy, each song is somehow memorable, something that hundreds of other metalcore acts have struggled to achieve. There are plenty of popular bands that attempt to do this, but then eventually resort to singing or repeated song structures(see: As I Lay Dying). Every movement to each song is accompanied by a mini-riff or vocal line that sticks in your mind, making August Burns Red the catchiest non-catchy band out there. Songs like “Barbarian” and “Your Little Suburbia is in Ruins” have fantastic individual parts that meld together for stand-out songs. The latter of those songs is the strongest on the record and the perfect introduction to a spectacular record full of tracks in the same vein.
Thrill Seeker is an outstanding album that should not slip under the radar. This band will be defined as metalcore by many, and that’s what it is, at the purest sense of the word. It’s the brutality of hardcore mixed with elements of metal. It’s not what many refer to as metalcore acts today, it’s not sub-par metal with tons of singing and black eyeliner (see: Atreyu). As the band commands you too, I suggest you open your eyes to August Burns Red and buy this record. Thrill Seeker is a blast of unbridled passion, brutality, and technicality rarely witnessed in their genre, resulting in one of this year’s strongest metalcore releases.
Their hometown is about 20 minutes from me so I have a soft spot for them. I'm in love with this album & can't wait til they come home for another show. I read in an interview that they shot a video for "Your Little Suburbia is in Ruins" before the BYD/Terror tour but I haven't seen it yet.