Rescue & Restore review by August Burns Red

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  • Released: Jun 25, 2013
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 7
  • Reviewer's score: 7.7 Good
  • Users' score: 8.5 (134 votes)
August Burns Red: Rescue & Restore
7

Sound — 8
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.

Lyrics — 8
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.

Overall Impression — 7
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.

18 comments sorted by best / new / date

    PoorePlaysBass
    Love this album, and love these guys. They really do a great job representing tasteful metalcore.
    Miyagi84
    This album is amazing... they really are one of the few metal/metalcore bands pushing the genre (or at least tryin to) into brave new territories. I thought that Leveler was the pinnacle of what could be done and while Rescue and Restore is an amazing album, I don't know how much further they advanced. Not saying that's a bad thing at all, just my opinion. They've put their own unique spin on the light/dark quiet/loud approach, and they do it beautifully. The guitarists have an amazing ear for writing crazy and beautiful melodies, the singer is amazing, and the drummer... so sick.
    rokr258
    can I mention here in this dicussion on the death of metalcore that Misery Signals has a new album coming out that should be dope?
    crazysam23_Atax
    I was waiting someone else to mention an actual Metalcore band, as opposed to arguing over "Metalcore" (which has no actual hardcore influence) is genericized or not.
    Morphogenesis26
    I've never been much of a fan of August Burns Red, aside from their first couple releases, but this sounds a bit more refreshing than their previous stuff. It's definitely nothing groundbreaking or anything, though.
    Skyvalve2012
    I rather prefer vppark doing the review.
    takenthecannoli
    Apparently, it was rejected for length (he says it more than meant the qualifications) by a sub while the guy who usually publishes the reviews was on vacation. Hopefully, it'll be up soon (if he kept and re-submitted).
    vppark2
    I always forget to save it on a file. And honestly, that's bs, as to seeing how half-assed UG's review is. I'm beyond pissed about this and UG needs a better way of saving reviews so that shit like this doesn't happen.
    holluss
    "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." I feel thats ironic because every album since messengers has been that formula only with an abr twist on it. Most, if not all, the albums sound the same minus one or two songs that are a little unordinary.
    Om_Bongo
    Inorite? Read that and checked out one of the songs.. Oh it's a standard 0-8-10 breakdown riff and pedal notes. Woop de ****ing doo, Basil. No different to any shit I've heard the past 10 years.
    vppark2
    The review wasn't too bad I guess, but couldve went more in depth. Especially the cool use of the China harp.
    Zan595
    I don't know, this album received a lot of praise, but I just couldn't get into this one. None of the songs really stood out to me or 'stuck'. It could be that I only gave it a few listens, but as of now, I much prefer Empire.
    derpdragon
    Tried it, still think it sounds like all other terrible metalcore. Everyone will just have to face the fact that it's a bad genre of music and nothing can be done about it, just like "gangsta" rap. The idea is just to bad to make sound good.
    Zan595
    Some of my favorite bands I'm sure you would consider 'metalcore', and you don't have to agree with that. That's the beauty of opinions; making generalized statements about a whole genre of music being "bad" is ridiculous. You just come off like one of those annoying "I only listvn to trv kvlt metulz" kids with your pretentious remarks.