August Burns Red is a band that has been making waves in the metalcore scene since their formation in 2003. Twenty years later, they come back with the release of their tenth album, “Death Below”, a 54-minute concept album!
The album starts off strong with “Premonition”, a brilliant introduction that combines a haunting guitar line with Jake Luhrs‘ wild vocals, creating an almost trance-like rhythm. The simplicity of the arrangement draws the listener in and prepares them for what’s to come.
And what comes next is “The Cleansing”. This powerful track is a more classic metalcore track that showcases the band’s signature sound, but this song immediately grabs your ear and refuses to let go, showing for almost eight minutes all the talent of the band. An instant classic!
The third track, “Ancestry”, features the voice of Jesse Leach from Killswitch Engage, but it’s the rhythmic duo of Matt Greiner on drums and Dustin Davidson on bass that truly stands out. The mixing of the song allows the listener to fully appreciate the intricacies of their performance.
The album continues with “Tightrope”, which features the incredible guitarist Jason Richardson (ex Born of Osiris and ex Chelsea Grin). His style is well-recognized and adds another layer of complexity to the album. “Fool’s Gold in the Bear Trap” is another standout track. While the song starts out quietly to give us a chance to breathe a little, Jake Luhrs‘ voice comes back to rip us apart in the middle of the song and segues perfectly into “Backfire”.
As the album progresses, it becomes clear that August Burns Red has conceived “Death Below” as a whole, with each song flowing seamlessly into the next. “Revival” is a high-energy track that gives a good idea of what the band can do live. “Sevink” is a brief interlude that showcases the band’s experimental side.
“Dark Divide” may seem less refined compared to “Sevink”, but it is still a good song, especially concerning the lead guitar line and the bass line. “Deadbolt” allows us to appreciate the vocal range of Jake Luhrs, ranging from rage to a little more softness. The album closes out with “The Abyss” and “Reckoning”, both of which feature collaborations with other artists. JT Cavey of Erra lends his guitar skills to “The Abyss”, while Spencer Chamberlain of Underoath adds his voice to “Reckoning”.
In conclusion, “Death Below” can certainly be considered impressive! This album is a complete and mature work that proves that the Metalcore genre still has room to renew itself. Fans of the genre won’t be disappointed.