Released: Jun 25, 2013
Genre: Metalcore, Progressive Metal
Label: Solid State
Number Of Tracks: 11
August Burns Red compare metalcore to Lady Gaga and seek to redress the balance on "Rescue & Restore."
Rescue & RestoreFeatured review by: UG Team, on july 04, 2013 9 of 12 people found this review helpful
Sound: August Burns Red aren't happy about metalcore. Just take a look at what guitarist JB Brubaker had to say about their new album: "'Rescue & Restore' is about challenging other bands and ourselves, as well as fans of this music, to want more than whatever happens to be the current buzz.
"People need to realize that there's not much of a difference between a metalcore song that has a couple breakdowns with a repeating chorus and the latest Lady Gaga song. This genre used to be better than that. It can still be better than that."
The chest-thumping, self-congratulatory camaraderie of hardcore and metalcore is certainly a musical barrier at times. Losing that sense of brother and sisterhood would be a tragedy, but perhaps too many are preoccupied with "doing it for the love" and too few are striving to break the mould. August Burns Red have always been set on a pendulum which swings between colourful, progressive explorations of the genre and rather safe (non)interpretations, so they can only complain to a certain extent. The ambition today is clearly to set that straight and put everybody on course to greener pastures, but with such a high bar set they can't settle for their usual consistency. This has to be better.
"Provision," "Treatment" and "Spirit Breaker" set a precedent for emotional intensity, with each techy riff, fiery scream and off-kilter prog tangent bleeding drama from the start. The super-charged modern production keeps everything ticking over, but things are a little too serious early on. Something about it wants you to force you into thinking that everything is a big deal. The quality of the riffing and Brubaker's catchy guitar leads save the occasional moments in the first half when things get a bit much nonetheless. Ironically, nothing seems overinflated in the second half, when the band start to toy with strange and more imaginative ideas and come good on their promises of progress. "Beauty in Tragedy" successfully shifts a pair of dark, melancholy themes into a major-key triumph and "Animals" is a technical noodler in the freshest way possible, but they really spread their wings on "Creative Captivity." The song will get column inches for its use of trumpet, strings and other unusual instruments, but it's full of imagination in other, more important ways. Matt Greiner's effortless snare grooves lead the five-piece on a journey which has highs and lows, stays true to style but not to formula, gives each member a moment in the sun and stays tight at under five minutes. Very impressive stuff, and once you start to feel the band's passion on that track the rest is a lot easier to get along with. // 8
Lyrics: Jake Luhrs is perhaps the only member of the band who compliments the record by going full throttle from start to finish. He sounds ready to tear his throat out after some of the highs, and there's powerful screamo influence in the specks of pitch which creep into his more dramatic deliveries. There's a tendency for the tough, monotonous breakdowns to be accompanied with audible lyrics and they're not always the best, but sitting down with the liner notes and an analytical brain will help uncover some great writing as well. The highlights are "Count It All as Lost," a cry for help with short, stark sentences, and "The First Step," which describes the band's musical mission through the broader issues of societal and political evolution. // 8
Overall Impression: This will only be an instant hit for fans who know what to expect and why to expect it, or people who are yet to familiarise themselves with the metalcore landscape that this is supposed to be reacting to. "Rescue & Restore" will inevitably pay off for anyone though, as long as you're able to feel the band's attitude rub off from what can be quite dense and rapidly changing music. They deserve plaudits not only for the technicality of what they play but the reasons they apply it: to move a song on or to add melodic colour, never to impress people. Does it turn the genre on its head? Not exactly, but it's a livelier, more creative tilt at it than anyone else has managed since the start of this decade and certainly August Burns Red's best record so far. If they still want to change the world in two years' time then on this evidence, we ought to hear them out. // 7
Rescue & Restore
vppark2, on july 05, 2013 7 of 15 people found this review helpful
Sound: August Burns Red is an Christian American metalcore band, from Manheim, Pennsylvania. With the fifth record in play, each member is able to get the job done equally, but also play to their full potential. And we all know these guys have always been this way. Even as JB stated, "This album will push the boundaries of our genre more than we ever have before. We set out to write a record where every song stands out from the last. There is a lot of ground covered here and a ton of meat to this album. It's full of odd metered rhythms and breakdowns, unexpected twists and turns, and some of our most technical riffing to date. Each of us have parts that make our heads spin and we have had to practice like crazy to get some of this stuff together. I know we always say this, but this will be our most ambitious album yet." So with his words in mind, I think we all know what to expect from them. As I had said, this is their fifth album, so they're not newbies to the genre anymore. In fact, they're crushing every single limit to this genre to make themselves stand out. Starting off with Matt Greiner on drums, this guy has arms of steel. Every motion is made to count. The drumming can be compared to such qualities as an AK47. Granted, that may sound a bit redundant, but the dude has so much more to it than just blast beats. "Beauty in Tragedy" seems to be the greatest example. That's not to say is my favorite track on the album, but his speed is very consistent. For JB, and Brent, these dudes are masters at string bending, arpeggios, and scales. I have to say, my favorite guitar pieces on this album all come from Animals. The vibrato is absolutely amazing on this track. It's got an Egyptian sort of feel to it. Just about 2:20, the strings ring like to make you feel like you're actually there with them. As for Dustin, I think he's also made one of the biggest, and beautiful touches to make this album what it is. Listen to "Count It All as Lost," and you will know exactly what I'm talking about. Just about 1:50 in, after Jake bellows his mind out, "Instead of fighting to be a man I just want to know who I am." Dustin then answers back with his backup vocals with these lines. "Fighting with my fists leaves me bloody and broken almost every single time." And then Jake finishes the line, "so I'm going at it with your strength instead of mine." Dustin screams that line like I've never heard before, especially as a backup vocalist in this genre. But the band member I haven't touched upon yet, is the one and only Jake Luhrs. This dude is the very backbone of the band. I've never heard Jake this real on all on the previous albums. And what I'm getting at can be seen in this track by track review. // 9
Lyrics: 1. "Provision": What a gruesome way to open up the album. And by that, it's scary-good. This song will keep your head nodding, but also keeping your mind in tact by thinking about what Jake's deep words are really saying about the song itself. The tune really does fit in with the words Jake is saying.
"You give us dreams to wake us up. You say, 'Take
Pride in the provision.' When all we see is the
Face of defeat you say, 'Take pride in the provision.'
My future's finally found me, figured me
Out. It's painful. It's tough. I never saw it coming.
Come as it may, because all of this life is a lesson
I'd rather learn than end up in a cold covered up
And then Jake bellows the lines,
"These are the words of a man who
Finally let go. These are the goals of a man who's
Laid it all down."
Almost as if he wants you to hear who this is coming from. The lines after this are,
"Losing it all made me realize
I am the victim, the culprit, the casualty, and the
Cause. Losing it all led me to you."
The last sentence is repeated again, along with "To youuuu!" In my mind, this felt very emotional. I think this next line is done by Dustin. "I'm sick. I need
Sight. I need help. I need you, and I'm not getting
Any better." And then Jake comes back, almost like a monster. "I am the deceiver. I'm not getting / Any better. I'm the thief, the whore, the murderer." A few second break is made you left hanging with JB playing a gruesome tune, then to be left with Jake coming back with the line,
"It's times like these you forget to remember
Who you are. The way up is down. Truth is found
When life throws you out and kicks you to the
Curb. I'm just as much the problem as the man
Behind bars. He did with his business what I do
In my heart."
Then a sweet breakdown is led in. The rest of the song of the song,you can pretty much guess is kicka-s.
2. "Treatment": A pinch harmonic is echoed 3 seconds in by guitarist JB Brubaker, making the song already sounding like a heavy force. Jake comes flying in ready to pounce the mic. His quickness did take me by surprise, but I think the lines that started to get me to think were,
"Open the gates.
Too many hearts filled with hate.
Let acceptance in.
We're here to say we're all so sick of your bigotry.
Pay attention to the choices you make.
Step back and look at all the hearts that you break.
Stop dwelling on what happens when we die.
Start helping others while we're still alive."
He repeats the last two lines again, and to me this sounds like it's directed towards someone. Now, at about two minutes in, one of the coolest parts on "Rescue & Restore" is made. Finger picking for the first 10 seconds, added on with Matt Greiner coming in, and (kill me if I'm wrong) the Chinese Harp I believe for the next 10 seconds, along with the finger picking, who I think is done by Brent. Greiner starts pounding the bass drum, and violins come into action, taking you by surprise. This goes on for a good 20 seconds, then JB comes in strumming a good distorted guitar. 10 seconds later, Jake is dying to let his voice be heard.
"You need to look in the mirror and ask yourself,
'My God what have I done? What are my true intentions?'
It's your right to say what's on your mind, yet it's their right to keep feeling alive."
I really love how these last few lines are done.
"We'll carve out your heart; rewire your mind, stripping your soul of everything that makes you unique.
We'll wipe the slate clean that brought them to their knees.
Will that make you believe in the tolerance you need?
You crown your religion instead of your king."
It gets real heavy at this part of the song, and even heavier at the last line, almost like emphasizing what is truly meant by it. All to be led off with JB giving one of the cleanest solos I've heard in this genre in awhile. A good 25 second mark, and Jake finishes up his lines.
3. "Spirit Breaker": You guessed it. Violins are also in this song to make things more epic!
"I will survive another month under these grey skies.
We've carried each other through and over the seas.
We live for nights like this.
The ones we won't forget. I hope to open my eyes to see this picture.
I'm throwing it all away. I hope to open my eyes to see this moment that I should treasure forever.
Staring at the walls to pass the time.
Pinch myself; make sure I'm still alive.
I'm not alright.
It's become a disguise.
Friends and family, I'm losing all ties.
I'm holding on as tight as I can.
Coming home, I don't know when.
I'm holding on as tight as I can.
It sounds to me like this a lot about missing his friends and family at home, from being out on the road so much. About 3:15 in, Jake almost recites a poem. It's insanely cool because I've never seen this done before by this band, or really by many other bands in general. I get a very For Today feeling on this. Then Jake comes back screaming at the last few lines. This was definitely a cool addition, but I'd have to say, this just might be my least favorite track on the album.
4. "Count It All as Lost": This song has some of the coolest string bending and pinch harmonics. And after that Jake becomes very real on yet another track.
"How must a broken man fix his brokenness if he's not the answer?
I can't do this on my own.
I need you here.
Each and every day that passes leaves me worse off than before.
Many times I've sworn I wouldn't look back.
Never look back."
After this, I had already explained what happens as can be seen in the sound section, to explain how epic this part is.
"So I'm going at it with your strength instead of mine.
Please be my strength.
I've carried this burden long enough.
With a heart of conviction, I've betrayed us both.
I have to forfeit.
The shame is too much to take.
Take the lead and reign over me."
In these lines, ABR always has that cool twist to all of a sudden change up the speed and tempo. to emphasize a line, so just get used to that, if you're listening to the words being spoken. That last line is very cool. It's repeated again, and gang vocals repeat "reign" three times.
5. "Sincerity": Speaking of gang vocals, this song uses them the most. It's got more of a For Today feel, yet again, but I say this in a good way, as I also love that band. This song is a lot about God, as I noticed while reading these lines. "'Our existence is an imprint. We all have a legacy to live,' he says to me. (We believe)." This would have to be my favorite line in the song, but overall, this is another song I didn't quite get as much interest in.
6. "Creative Captivity": Here we go, Chinese Harp, and marimba to start this song off, and along with JB's guitar shredding. Violins come at about three minutes in, and the marimba also takes quite a nice place after Jake finishes up a few lines. And soon the trumpets roll in, and I have to say this was a cool addition, but at the same time, I felt like it was a bit awkward. With Jake screaming and the trumpets rolling, I have never heard such a thing in this genre, but again, these guys are breaking grounds using these instruments. Lyrically, there was not much to this song.
7. "Fault Line": Instrumentally, I did not care too much for this song or even vocally, but lyrically it was good. The anthem lines are,
"We all hurt.
We all need.
We all cry.
We all bleed."
And Jake really gives you the thought that this is a song about God, and that he is not a hero, as in this line, "Just don't call me your hero." Overall, I like this song, but this will be added in to the least favorite tracks bundle for me.
8. "Beauty in Tragedy": This song really starts off to kick your a-s. If I could just copy and past the lyrics to the whole song, I would. That's how much I like this song. But I must say, these arew some of the most impressive lines in ABR history.
"There is beauty in tragedy
The heart won't stop beating,
For the end is a new beginning
Where sorrow pulls the skyline of reality
And restarts a love ever after
As we grasp beyond defeat."
The chorus is amazing, by the way.
"Just take away my world,
Leave my side
Hear the angels sing,
As I embrace you with a warm welcome home
Hear the angels sing.
Hear the angels sing."
That chorus is something I can definitely imagine seeing them perform at a live show, and well, obviously this whole song in general. There is some great tremolo picking around after the 3rd verse.
9. "Animals": This is another one of my favorite tunes from the album. My favorite lines in this song are,
"Just take away my world,
Leave my side
Hear the angels sing,
As I embrace you with a warm welcome home
Hear the angels sing.
Hear the angels sing."
And what's really interesting about this part, is JB's guitar playing, which soon turns into some amazing ringing of the guitar.
10. "Echoes": At this point in the album, I'm very impressed by how they're wrapping it up. One of the most powerful moments on this album come from when Jake yells "This is our home away from home!" These lines are insanely touching. "Pouring our hearts across the stage
With every word we sing together.
Screaming our anthem with one another."
And the last lines come along with gang vocals. "The open road is what I need to breathe freely. Free me."
I absolutely love how this song ended. This a song I think would be a good closer to an ABR show, but not the encore obviously.
11. "The First Step": Interesting way to close the album up. Lines like,
"The ground you walk on
Isn't a straight line,
And neither are the toils of life.
Just to watch it pass you by
To watch the world pass you by
We are pushing for change,
Waiting for the world to take notice.
Breaking down barriers,
As we strive for a better way.
With determination we'll march on in protest.
With determination we'll see this through."
make you think what is displayed in the message.
JB definitely has the coolest guitar solo on this track, and a great way to close up the album. Jake talks in a megaphone in these lines.
"History's greatest generation
Will be removed by the Earth's most advanced.
Your battles will become our peace,
Your lies shall become our truth.
We will replace the old cards with the new."
And the very last words to this song and album really make a lasting impression for a diehard ABR fan.
There is no progression.
Society won't wait for statues
To break free of their brass case.
Evolve or die!" // 9
Overall Impression: This album made a man like Dustin shine through on backing vocals. This album made JB become an even higher guitar master. With the things I had already mentioned, he really drove himself on the solos. Brent surely made some songs quite worthy of listening to again in the near future, and to add to ABR's intense discography. Matt became a destructive animal on this album. And Jake, no fanboyying needed, but this dude shined the most on this album. He opened himself up to his true life stories that I wouldn't say many vocalists nowadays are very good at doing. He overcame his heroin and drinking addictions, and that is most noticeable if you read the lines in "Provision." He's also become what I call a true metalcore vocalist. And I say that because he has the metal and hardcore influences to make him a true metalcore vocalist. And really, there are not many of those in this genre today. JB was clearly the head of this band. This will be a treasured gift for many to listen to in years to come. ABR fans will be blown away by this album. Non ABR fans should take in appreciation by how far they have come. This is no "Constellations," but it was very, very close to one. And by that said, this is my second favorite album by them. Cheers, ABR. I look forward to seeing you guys at Warped Tour July 11th in Mansfield, Massachusetts, and getting drumming lessons from Matt Greiner himself! Keep up the good work! // 9