Review: August Burns Red, “Constellations”
Two years after the stellar eardrum-shattering onslaught that was Messengers, Lancaster, Pennsylvania natives August Burns Red returns to the metal scene with a new and equally as brutal album entitled Constellations. From the opening track “Thirty And Seven” the band proves they are getting back to some of their raw roots in hardcore metal, but keeping the expert production that was seen on their sophomore effort. While on Messengers each track was a stand alone from each other, Constellations seems to much more of a cohesive effort, as many of the album’s songs tend to blend right into one another, allowing for a never-ending frenzy of metal, perfect to any fan’s ears.
Where the band really shines this time around is on songs like “Marianas Trench”, which begins slowly with a melodic intro and drums coming in to compliment them, with the solitude only to be destroyed by the coming breakdown as only August Burns Red can perform it. Merely a minute later into the song, the ferocity builds and the song nearly becomes a speed metal track with a brilliant solo to finish it off, adding a new element to a beloved band and proving that they can stretch themselves in ways no one saw coming. “The Escape Artist” follows, adding elements that are typical of the band we saw on Messengers, but the screams tend to be more vicious than previously heard, and it makes for more emotion in each and every track the band pounds out. The song ends with a soft piano outro, leading us right into the next song, giving no time to rest, which is the way I’m sure fans like it.
“Meridian” serves as the longest track on the album, and halfway through the six minute epic it seems like it will end up being an instrumental, but screams rip through the echoing guitars to give off a feeling that ABR was going for some serious points here, and they earned them by showing what music can do. Some may say that the song would have been better without vocals at all, but as a whole it works on all levels. It’s not the best track on the album, by far, but it serves as a great addition to an otherwise stellar recording. Other highlights plague the album, like the first single “Existence” and the short but powerful “Rationalist”. Overall, this album is a solid return for a metal band that is sorely missed when all they’ve released in two years in an EP of extras from their last album. Constellations is a more raw, yet epic sounding ABR, and fans will embrace this album as they did their last two.
Star Rating: 4 out of 5