Lancaster, Pennsylvania’s own August Burns Red are back at it again with another record. The twice Grammy-nominated metalcore band are most well known for their record Constellations, in which they did a ten-year anniversary tour for last year in 2019. So far, two singles have been released off the new record – ‘Defender’ and ‘Bones’. So, does Guardians hold up? That’s the question I’m answering.
August Burns Red have been consistent throughout the years, keeping their sound fairly similar between Constellations in 2009 and Rescue & Restore in 2013. They found a more melodic sound with Found In Far Away Places in 2015 and Phantom Anthem in 2017 – and got a tad more creative with the sound of each record.
So where does Guardians fit? Well, old school August Burns Red fans rejoice – the band makes a return to their much heavier days with this record. However, for those of you who enjoy the creativity and melodic sense of the post-2014 records, there is also a little something for you. The band outdoes themselves with creative, beautiful guitar leads and back clean vocals, while Jake’s vocals are harsh and heavy like the rhythm guitar, bass, and drums.
Like I said, there is a little something for everyone. For those fans out there, who like the heavier side of August Burns Red, ‘The Narrative’, ‘Paramount’, ‘Dismembered Memory’, and ‘Blood Letter’ are some of the heavier tracks on the record. ‘Defender’, ‘Extinct by Instinct’, and ‘Empty Heaven’ have a healthy balance between melodic and heavy.
For those of you who prefer the post-2014 sounds of Found In Far Away Places, you’ll be more likely to enjoy ‘Bones’, ‘Lighthouse’, ‘Ties That Bind’, and ‘Three Fountains’, with ‘Lighthouse’ and ‘Three Fountains’ almost leaning on the edge of post hardcore in an extremely poetic and arioso sound.
Rhythm guitarist Brent Rambler characterizes the record by saying, “There’s a loose theme of being there for another person who’s reaching out for help. This individual who saves the day acts like a guardian. The idea recurred as we put everything together. It was a great summation of what we were talking about.” One lyric that really stood out to me was the first lines in ‘Three Fountains’, reading: “When you forget who you are, you don’t just lose yourself. You become like everyone else.”
So, does the record hold up? Is it a certified banger? The answer is yes. Guardians is a record that remains consistent with the sound we all know and love from the band while switching it up and including many aspects of records throughout their career. Stream it wherever you stream and pick up a copy on CD, vinyl, or however you like to listen to music. You don’t want to miss this.