Sound — 9
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!
Lyrics — 9
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.
Overall Impression — 9
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!