Released: Jul 14, 2009
Genre: Metalcore, Progressive Metal
Label: Solid State
Number Of Tracks: 12
Two years after the release of "Messengers", metalcore kings August Burns Red are back with their highly anticipated third album, entitled "Constellations".
rebofthetemple, on july 16, 2009 6 of 6 people found this review helpful
Sound: August Burns Red is probably one of the leading bands in the over-saturated metalcore genre, and in their latest release Constellations prove that being leader is no reason to compromise their sound. The drumming is still ear pounding, the guitar riffs and melodic licks are in abundance, and the vocals retain their ferocity. One area ABR have toned down in, however, is the breakdowns. Unlike Messengers, breakdowns are few and far between and now only inserted when it fits the song rather than just to conform to the metalcore song structure. Some of the more vigourous fans might find this disappointing, but it leads to an album that can be listened from start to finish rather than in chunks. The progression of Constellations has also improved, lending itself to the introduction of several guitar solos on the album (check out Existence), jazz influenced breaks (Ocean of Apathy), and quiet instrumental interludes (Marianas Trench). Most notably is the break from metalcore altogether in the post-rock/metal influenced track Meridian. Overall ABR have taken one step forward in their sound as a band, and though they still seem timid to fully experiment beyond the limits of the metalcore genre, this album is definitely a step up from Messengers. // 9
Lyrics: One place that has not changed for ABR has been the vocals. To me personally I prefer their new vocalist to their Thrill Seekers-era vocalist, but biased opinions aside, there is no question that their lyrics are reminiscent of all other ABR releases. Religion, repenting, dealing with daily issues, all are contained as lyrical messages within Constellations. Quondam with the rapid-fire vocals and their brutal delivery, ABR has definitely not lost touch in this department over the other progressions taken on this album. // 8
Overall Impression: Constellations is the new standard bearer for ABR, and for good reason. Although still defined by the metalcore genre and other bands present within it, ABR have made several leaps and bounds over their previous release of Messengers. The progression and experimentation in sounds has led to a unique sound among metalcore, and wtih the toning down of breakdowns an album that can truly be listened to from start to finish. Any fan of metalcore (if not already picking this up) should check this out, along with the general metalheads (it was how I discovered this band). There is a good bet that you won't be disappointed. // 9
codypacker, on july 16, 2009 5 of 7 people found this review helpful
Sound: I have been a fan of August Burns Red since they began. Thrill Seeker was good but not perfect few awesome tracks and some duds but still a solid metalcore album. Messengers blew the roof in brutality and Jake brang so much more to the band but they all definately raised the bar and grew individually and as a unit, but the flaw was there were way too much breakdowns.
Constellations I have been waiting for for ages! I thought to myself, this is the make and break for this band. It will show me if they are a mature intelligent band or just another wannabe cloned metalcore band. What can I say? It blew my mind!
Track by Track Review:
01.Thirty And Seven: solid opener with a crunching first breakdown with Jake screaming "Your shame will remain" in 3 different pitches ripping the headphones apart. Great lyrics ("Your mind is a mountain before you""You've reached the summit now transcend the skies" really requires you to think to what you are listening to- a real strong point with ABR's music) and a great climax (Something August Burns Red has mastered on this album)The drumming drives this song with epic fills and blast beats galore.
02.Existence: amazing lyrics in this making the listener really think and question themself ("It's what we know we aren't that makes us who we are") and a crushing, smashing breakdown at :50 mark where Jake roars "Don't excuse yourself from life today on the pretense of your past") Again a powerful, powerful climax with a sense of uplifting reassurance!
03.Ocean Of Apathy: a song that has some influence from Between the Buried and Me i hear (ABR toured with them for a while) Great melodic opening that builds into a beautiful, brutal breakdown that transcends into the melodic midsection. The suprise lies in the middle with a jazz section. Don't be scared it sticks after a few listens and it is only momentary because then they build into another EPIC outro with an excellent melody line and solid drumming!
04.White Washed: great track. Awesome buliding intro with nice blend of bouncing drum beats and off time grooves. Awesome middle section as well, great lyrics and brutal vocals make for a wicked song for the stereo!
05.Marianas Trench: Killswitch engage influence written all over this song! Intro and end breakdown especially. But the intro builds into an ear shattering scream and pounding drum beat with rapid fire guitars to really inject speed into the song! Great off time breakdown at the end on the china too by Matt Greiner. FANTASTIC! Also noteworthy is a rapid fire blast beat Matt unleashes in the middle of the song, indescribable!
06.The Escape Artist: very brutal song. Harsh lyrics about judgement of others based on religion and believeing what you want to believe. The song features a piano outro that is quite effective also, again will take a bit of getting used to!
07.Indonesia: highlight of the album! The song is about a guy who crashed a plane into a mountain in Indonesia and was stranded to die! Very important song to the band and it shows! Passionate, full of passion! Especially when Jake rips out the scream of "David, rest in peace" after the middle clean vocals! YES, clean vocals. ANd one word... It is soothing and unbelieveably satisfying! Beautiful middle section with Tommy Rodgers inclusion! And again EPIC outro, great lyrics, best song!
08.Paradox: one of the weaker tracks on the album but the meleodies are strong and the brutal parts are brutal! Just a little repetitive but the lyrics ring true!!
09.Meridian: slows the album down, song is too long. Feels forced but some parts are beautiful! End part is rubbish with the open breakdown chords after the melody! BRUTAL SCREAM FROM JAKE THOUGH. BRUTAL!
10.Rationlist: injects all the speed straight back into the album! Matt Greiner starts with a BEAST FILL and puts all the aggression back into the album! SHort but brutal song! Again the lyrics are very honest and amazing although contradictary! The end breakdowns are crushing!
11.Meddler: amazing track! So much melody! Again what can I say? STartling lyrics, so relatble and true! The guitars are so melodic and great middle solo! The brekadown at around the 1 minute mark where Matt builds up by rolling round his toms then smashing into his china breakdown is mountain smashing! Wicked! The end delivers a positive, uplifting message again with a stunning climax!
12.Crusades: takes two listens to stick but what a way to end the album. They mastered dynamics on this track! The first 2 minutes are just a bombardment of breakdowns and fast, pulse pounding riffs with rip roaring screams that will shatter windows. Absolutely phenomanal track! Lyrics are sensational, very religious but again interpret them how you want, everyone can relate to them! There is a shattering, smashing breakdown where Jake yells "Descend" and Matt Greiner unleashs carnage accompanied by JD and Brent the guitarists! AMAZING, EPIC, UPLIFTING OUTRO with great melodies and groundbreaking, passionate screaming! // 9
Lyrics: Jake Luhrs knows how to write good lyrics. Why are they good? Well because they are so honest and ring true and everyone can relate to them in some way. The songs are very open to interpret how you view them. He touches on a wide variety of subjects such as religion, salvation, isolation, personal grivances etc all that we can relate as humans too. His lyrics are poetic and boy does he know how to write good metaphors and brutally honest phrases ("Your mind is the mountain before you" "Its what we know we aren't that makes us who we are" "We can fight the current, but we can't climb the waterfall" "Why are we led by a misled generation?") Another reason I love Jake is because he questions the listener, makes them think about what he/she is listening too and think about life and morals etc. This a rairity ABR has over other metalcore bands, and the passion behind his deliverance is just amazing and so inspiring! The only thing stopping me from giving it a 10 is there are a few lines here or there (In Thirty and Seven, Ocean of Apathy and Marianas Trench) that seem forced, dont make sense at all or just in the song or just don't quite fit in. // 9
Overall Impression: All in all Constellations blew me away! Yes, it is a bit generic, the metalcore genre is very shallow but my god do August Burns Red pull it off so convincingly! And It Sticks! Every song is amazing in it's own way! Great experimenting with guitar solos even though they don't suit at times and feel forced or just lack real catchiness or creativity, very inventive breakdowns with more experimental time signatures and added melodies which makes them stick so much more! I feel this album will be hard to beat although I'm sure Between the Buried and Me will match them if not beat them! The one thing that stays true with each release from ABR is the passion in which they deliver their music! They Love Making Music And Giving Their Message! Especially Jake is noteworthy for this, his deliverance is so inspiring and you can tell he is passionate about what he does unlike monotone screamers from bands such as Misery Signals (although their music is amazing) and Between the Buried and Me ( even though their music is groundbreaking) Jakes range on this record really hits home for me! Something other bands fail to do. August Burns Red clearly don't care about fame or money. This is why I highly respect them!
Big ups to the August Burns Red boy's... Keep growing boys, fly high! // 9
kellen.dobmeier, on july 27, 2009 2 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sound: With Constellations, August Burns Red's sound has evolved. It's as simple as that. The band had never really released a completely solid album prior to this one. All the songs were catchy, but they had drawbacks. The main drawback to ABR's prior albums was the inconceivable amount of breakdowns they possessed. It was just too many. It ended up being too monotonous. On this album, however, breakdowns are only inserted where necessary and there is much more lead guitar present which is nice. Jake's vocals have really progressed as well. He has a good harsh voice. It fits the music very well. There's even some clean vocals attempted by Dustin Davidson, the bassist. JB and Brent's guitarwork is pretty much flawless for metalcore and Matt Greiner is still a beast on the kit. The band even attempts to incorporate a jazzy section in the song 'Ocean of Apathy.' The attempt works; that's all I'll say. // 10
Lyrics: ABR has been known to be a Christian band since inception. That doesn't change a bit on Constellations. I don't know if Jake pens the lyrics himself or if the band as a whole writes them. One way or the other, the lyrics are stellar. Some lines get in your head and stay there such as "Your mind is the mountain before you" and also "Open your closed mind and close your open mouth."Jake also delivers with astounding ferocity and his vocals don't sound fake. I just plain love what this band does lyrically and what Jake does vocally. Outstanding. // 10
Overall Impression: I'm going to start this piece by saying that this is NOT a fanboy review. The only other album I own by this band is "Thrill Seeker" and I listen to it sparingly. All I have to say about Constellations overall is that August Burns Red has taken the metalcore crown from As I Lay Dying. As I Lay Dying's 'An Ocean Between Us' had taken such a firm hold I never thought AILD would relinquish it (Also fellow Metalcore cans, Killswitch lost it when Jesse Leach left, so don't bother commenting that "Killswitch is the best Metalcore band for realzz!" because they're not and haven't been for quite some time). I love both ABR and AILD and I hope that with each passing album both bands continue to grow. ABR sure does and AILD did with their most recent album. I only hope that, come this winter, As I Lay Dying retakes the metalcore crown because God knows how good the album has to be to top this one. Constellations kicks ass. Nothing more need be said. // 10
Kwyjibo2006, on july 14, 2009 1 of 5 people found this review helpful
Sound: Two years after the release of "Messengers", metalcore kings August Burns Red are back with their highly anticipated third album, entitled "Constellations". And while the band's sound hasn't evolved all much from "Messengers", their new album is just as heavy, with just as many crazy riffs and breakdowns as ever. Somehow, the band's musicianship has gotten even better. Matt Greiner's drums are as flawless as ever, proving he can easily keep up with other progressive metal bands like Between The Buried And Me (with Tommy Rogers making a guest appearance on the track "Indonesia"). Meanwhile, guitarists Brent Rambler and JB Brubaker definately give their best performances yet, with some of the craziest riffs, and even guitar solos, in the band's history.
Each track stands out on its own as an amazing piece of music, though the band truly shines on tracks like Marianas Trench (though some listeners may find that the first minute or so sounds a bit too much like My Curse by Killswitch Engage), The Escape Artist, Rationalist and the closing track, Crusades. "Constellations" really does remind you of why August Burns Red are at the forefront of the Christian Metalcore scene. // 10
Lyrics: "Constellations" is Jake Luhrs' second album with the band, and his lyrics are the same as always. While on some songs he may not utilize his vocal range as much as he could, the lyrics themselves fit perfectly with the songs and can be interpreted in any way by the listener. Also, the band's religious beliefs are slowly beginning to become more evident with every release, especially on this album's almost-intrumental "Meridian", which, although it is a good track with some great riffs, seems a bit drawn out at 6 minutes. In any case, the lyrics and singing may not have evolved all that much, but it isn't anything that won't please metalheads and fans of the band. // 8
Overall Impression: What August Burns Red have done with "Constellations" is not evolve their sound, but refine it, similar to what Metallica did with "Master of Puppets" as opposed to "Ride The Lightning". They didn't change their sound, they took what they knew worked well and made it even better. Fans of the band should be pleased with another 45-minute dose of drop C breakdowns and double-bass kicks. "Constellations" is truly a great album, and while some may not find is as good as "Messengers", it is certainly its equal as well as being a shoe-in for becoming one of the best metal albums of 2009. // 9
Sam Rulez D00d, on january 05, 2010 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: August Burns Shred! These guys are real metalcore. This is probably their sickest, brutallest, most epic album so far. Its quality, non-generic breakdowns, awesome riffage, and overall sound is legit jugganot-status. Also, unlike Messengers, Constellations has more softer parts that make the heavier parts even brutaller. Definitely an album to throw down to. // 9
Lyrics: The lyrics are flat-out amazing. When Jake Luhrs screams "You're the straw that's crushing my back, you are the salt that's burning my wounds"--it's just epic. But probably the most meaningful lyrics are found in "Meridian"--"I am the painter making this mess a masterpiece"--which is about willing yourself on and realizing that what doesn't tear you down will build you up twice as strong. "Indonesia" contains heavy and heartfelt lyrics about a guy named David Clapper who died in a plane crash--and "died to better this world." Also, "Meddler" screams in desperation, "If everything's relative, then why the emptiness in our souls", and ends with the realization of a greater purpose. And unlike most screamo-y screamers in the scene, Jake Luhrs' voice sounds more rooted in hxc. // 9
Overall Impression: This is probably one of my favorite albums. I like each and every single song on this album, but my favorites are probably "Meddler", "White Washed", "Existence", and "Marianas Trench" and "Meridian". What I love most about this album is the raw brutality of the songs but also the religious overtones and meaning behind them. There is nothing I can pick out about this album that I don't like. This album's never gonna get stolen or lost, because I guard it with my life and whoever tries to steal it is in for a beatdown. // 9
IbanezPlayerx, on september 02, 2009 0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sound: ABR took their production quality up a step. That's hard to believe considering 'Messengers' was almost perfectly balanced. However, my only criticism is the constant sound of Matt Greiner's cymbals and crashes. He has an arsenal, but his talent is undeniable. Lead guitarist JB and rhythm guitarist Brent have really stepped their game up. The guitar work is very intricate and comes out very nicely on the cd. There are even solos on this CD! [GASP!]. Bassist Brent keeps up the whole time, plucking and picking his way to glory. Vocalist Jake Luhrs screams with so much emotion and passion, and it really comes out in each song. He has such a unique voice, it's hard not to like it. ABR have definitely put their heart and soul into this album, and it definitely shows. // 9
Lyrics: Being a christian band, ABR usually refers to God, and the hardships of living life and how to overcome them. This album is no different. But they have always had great song writing skills, so they are excellent at getting the point across without sounding cheesy or overbearing. I personally don't listen to the lyrics as far as ABR is concerned, but rather the musicianship and general overall performance, which is superior. // 8
Overall Impression: 'Constellations' is definitely ABR's new opus. Breaking 22,000 record sales in it's first week, you can tell hordes of fans love this CD, and I can guarantee you will too. Every single band member took their passion and skills to a whole new level, and since 'Messengers' was released in 2007, you can tell the band as a whole has matured. Go buy this CD, right now.
White WashedMeddlerRationalistThirty and Seven // 9