Sound — 10
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.
Lyrics — 8
"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.
Overall Impression — 9
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.