August Burns Red’s second full length album “Messengers” establishes the band out of Lancaster, Pennsylvania as a forced to be reckoned with in the Metalcore scene. Fans of “Thrill Seeker” wont find anything to be dissapointed with here, the style is pretty much the same but a little less heavy. For fans new to ABR, well you’ve been missing out. They’re an extremely technical band but the music never gets redundant or over the top. All of the songs are mid to fast paced and riddled with breakdowns. Matt Griener is an insanely good drummer and a big highlight of the album. He left me with my jaw open several times throughout the album. The new singer (don’t worry Thrill Seeker fans you’ll like him) is a pretty good screamer. He stays mostly in the mid-low register but he does occasionaly go for some high screeches. He also does some clean singing (or should I say talking?) but it’s very few and far. The guitarists are once again fantastic. They’re very melodic and throughout the album we’re treated to intricate and epic leads and riffs but at times they get downright nasty. It almost reminds me of In Flames’ “Colony” because it’s melodic but very heavy at the same time, only ABR is a good several dozen times faster (If you like Messengers I suggest you look into Colony).
The album starts off with “The Truth of a Liar” and it gets us ready for whats to come. It’s a great song and one of my personal favorites. This would be a good song to download to see what these guys sound like. After that comes “Up Against The Ropes” which can best be described as playing bumper cars blindfolded. Tons of breakdowns unexpectedly pop up throughout, definitely one of the heavier tracks. Other highlights include “Composure” probably the most melodic song, check out the music video for this one it’s pretty cool, and “Redemption” the six-minute plus closer which is nothing short of a masterpiece. The lyrics are very passionate and Jake Luhrs sings them with great emotion. The entire album has very good lyrics and, as you probably already know, they’re a Christian band. But remember “Christian isn’t a type of music, I’ve met several people who wont listen to Christian bands simply because they’re Christian. If that’s the case with you then ignore the lyrics and just enjoy the music.
Now the only reason why I don’t give this a full five stars is because the breakdowns all seem to sound very similar and, like another reviewer said, the drummer uses the cymbal crash the same way on practically every breakdown. But that can easily be ignored because he did a masterful job on the rest of the album.
August Burns Red could very well be your new favorite band. I’ve been listening to Messengers non stop for a while now and trust me it’s good music. If you like it I recommend “Alaska” by Between The Buried And Me, “Plagues” by The Devil Wears Prada, and like I previously said “Colony” by In Flames. Keep a lookout for ABR’s new album coming out spring 2009.