All That Remains
Tracklist1. Thirty And Seven
3. Ocean Of Apathy
4. White Washed
5. Marianas Trench
6. The Escape Artist
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Besides the new Dredg album, the new August Burns Red album is one of the most anticipated releases of the year here at Decoy. Reviewers had to almost fight to review it, but no matter who ended up reviewing it would have come to the same conclusion - Constellations makes Messengers (a Decoy favourite) look silly.
The changes that August Burns Red have gone through since 2007 are not surprising. Die-hard fans needn't worry - the typical ABRisms are still there, just in less quantity to make room for the new stuff. What does that mean? Well, the heavy breakdowns that have become a signature part of the quintet's sound are still as crushing as ever, but instead of having two or three in a song on their new effort, there is usually only one. But what they have sacrificed in quantity, they more than make up for in quality. The breakdowns are better than ever, and often feature intricate guitar leads in addition to the pounding rhythms. Additionally, they have entirely new elements to their sound. There is sweep picking on tracks like "Indonesia" (which Between the Buried and Me's Tommy Roger lends his vocal cords too) and the Dragonforce influenced part of "Thirty and Seven", and there is the inclusion of a piano on one of the album's highlights, "The Escape Artist".
The two tracks release online (and first two tracks of the album), "Existence" and the previously mentioned "Thirty and Seven", are actually two of the weaker tracks on the album - good news if you were disappointed by that pair. Actually, the album's strongest track, "Ocean of Apathy", comes right after the introductory duo and eliminates any doubt they left in their wake. Oddly enough the song starts out fairly atypical for the band, but soon after breaks into the best riff the band has ever written. Seriously. That soon leads into the best breakdown the band has ever put to disc. Seriously. If this track is disappointing from an overall metal or hardcore perspective - not just an ABR fanboy - you best be getting your ears checked. The song ventures through a power metal tinged lead and an eerie clean guitar section, which is followed up with some more intricate guitar riffage.
Other notable tracks include the six-minute "Meridian", which is one of the quietest and least technical numbers the band has done, "Mariana's Trench", a track that is better than the band of the same name, and the closer "Crusades". Not surprisingly, all of these tracks feature some of that "new stuff" mentioned above. It is nice to see a band like August Burns Red experimenting, especially in a genre not known for being a hotbed for progression. Clearly ABR are a band that cares about maturing, something that few metalcore acts seem to acknowledge while releasing one virtually identical album after another. Ultimately, their desire to grow has produced their greatest album to date. Simply put, if you thought Messengers was good, you haven't heard anything yet.