WEBSTER HALL, NYC – On the last day of their tour together (April 17th), I went to see August Burns Red, Between the Buried and Me and Good Tiger. I’ll be honest and admit that I didn’t do my homework. I had no clue what Good Tiger was, who was in it, or what they sound like. The groovy, almost funky, sometimes metalcore, always catchy sounds came fast and unexpectedly. Elliot Coleman’s high pitched singing mostly stayed constant even when the instrumentals started picking up the pace. This was the perfect melodic opener to Between the Buried and Me’s rhythmic brand of progressive metal.
Punks are notoriously “anti-“, especially when it comes to holidays centered around what many perceive as greedy, narcissistic capitalism. Some, on the other hand, just like to make traditional holiday hits a bit heavier. So in the spirit of giving, here’s a playlist of ten tracks to make your Xmas a bit less merry and a bit more merciless.
Is it any wonder we picked August Burns Red‘s music video for “Identity” as our music video of the week? Battling sharks with tridents, swimming with schools of cartoon fish, and turning into mermaids–what more could you ask of modern metal? The band’s hilarious animated undersea antics totally don’t match the vibe of a song as heavy as this one, but maybe that’s the point. Found In Far Away Places is a record with some serious themes, so why not lighten things up a bit? Watch the full music video below and let us know what you’d do if you could be Poseidon for a day.
The seventh studio album, Found in Far Away Places, from Pennsylvanian Christian metal band August Burns Red is their first on Fearless Records. It is a brutal yet sometimes hopeful twelve-song trek through faith, anger and other trying emotions, with melodic respites in between.
Found in Far Away Places begins with “The Wake,” the album’s first single, and it’s exactly what ABR fans have come to expect–loud, crushing instrumentals with deep, unforgiving vocals. Humanity’s greed and indifference to the world’s problems are, as usual, the focal point of ABR’s aural assault. Following “The Wake” is the accusatory “Martyr.” The ascent through brutality and anger continues and then, near the halfway mark, the listener gets a moment to catch a breath with an unexpected brief but beautiful guitar solo.
This record has more instrumental breaks than August Burns Red’s previous works. “Separating The Seas” has an interlude (weirdly similar to “Hava Nagila”) which serves as a bridge between two points of the usual ABR aggression. Almost every track on this album contains a melodic, relatively quiet bridge or interlude, and they tend to take the songs in an unexpected direction. The western interlude in “Identity” is yet another twist.
A Day to Remember’s Jeremy McKinnon delivers clean vocals on “Ghosts,” reminding the listener to “Just look at the world around you/There’s a consequence for what we do.” Then the album avalanches down through confusion, anger, redemption, and even hope. There is hope in “Everlasting Ending,” but “Broken Promises” and “Blackwood” return to the palpable violent anger of the opening tracks. The album ends almost entirely in opposition to how it begins with “Marathon” and its last sentiment: “I will climb this mountain to find you/I will search far and wide/I will climb this mountain to find you before running out of time.”
The first words out of Jake Luhr’s mouth in “The Wake” are “Destroy everything.” The final words on the record are humble and hopeful. Found in Far Away Places demands to be listened to carefully in order to fully appreciate the scope of the emotions and themes it encompasses. There is no doubt that with each listen there will be more to discover, and whether or not you believe in a higher power, August Burns Red might just help you see hope for all of us.
By David Marulanda
There’s been a large build up in anticipation for August Burns Red‘s newest album, Found In Far Away Places. Even though the album doesn’t come out for a few more days, ABR fans can check out a bunch of the new singles right now! Their latest release, being the ever melodic “Ghosts,” features a nice vocal cameo from the voice of A Day To Remember, Jeremy McKinnon. McKinnon helps give the harsh yet oh so lovable edge that ABR is known for a bit of a twist, so check out the single for “Ghosts” below and get ready for the full album drop on 6/30/15!
On June 19th, Yahoo! Screen streamed the first date of Vans Warped Tour 2015 on its Live Nation Channel from the Fairplex in Pomona, CA. The live stream kicks off a hugely important festival for the “underground,” but it also kicks off an important question: Do live concert streaming and hard rock shows really belong together?
We’re all used to seeing live performances on TV by now. Come the Super Bowl, the halftime show is all that matters for many viewers. We watch televised performances from the likes of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, The Oscars, and nightly programs like Jimmy Kimmel Live and Conan. While broadcasted musical events have become commonplace, live concert streaming takes the concept to a next level and thus raises next level questions. When a -core band’s show inside a local venue becomes easily viewable from remote locations, is it just cool or does it take something away? When you can watch Stick To Your Guns play a set from your laptop in bed with some hot cocoa, for example, it inarguably changes the experience. But is it for the better?
Vans Warped Tour and Stick To Your Guns aren’t the only examples of streamed shows, of course, and Yahoo! isn’t the only platform for this market. (Others include IROCKE and ConcertTV & Concert Window, for instance). Various acts from genres all across the board have dabbled in the new digital music phenomenon. Bands like The Ghost Inside, Falling In Reverse, Chelsea Grin, August Burns Red, and Bayside have live streamed their shows via Yahoo!, as have acts like Stone Temple Pilots, Infected Mushroom and Meghan Trainor. On one hand, you might note how fair the platform is to music of all types. Heavy bands aren’t usually deemed noteworthy enough to appear side-by-side with ultra-famous pop singers or widely-known psychedelic trance groups. Alternatively, though it may be nice to see your favorite bands emerge from the more shadowy corners of the music world, there is something about watching their performances from a computer screen that can justifiably raise an eyebrow or two.
I’ll admit, the first time I heard about live concert streaming, I thought it was pretty freakin’ awesome. “No way!” was followed by “I’ve gotta try that!” was followed by “I’m totally living in the future right now!” I actually tuned in to a couple of shows to see what it was like or to see how the bands actually performed live. Each time, I stared at my computer screen allowing that exact same train of thought to pass through my brain…for about 60 seconds. Then I got over it.
Then I started thinking, That’s cool. I’m sure the people who are actually there right now are having fun. Because although being able to watch a live show from your couch is admittedly a neat trick, the initial magic wears off rather quickly. Sure, with pop acts and more mainstream sounds it’s probably a bit different. After all, watching Super Bowl Halftime shows is always fun. But pop, hip-hop, and stadium rock acts are what the doorman of Oz would call a horse of a different color as compared to a hardcore outfit. Those streamline genres are more tailored to broadcast performances. For the most part, vocals are really most of what’s going on in a pop act, and the audio engineers are well-adjusted to those kinds of smooth vocals. But introduce some screaming and growling into the mic, some double bass pedals alongside intense cymbal work, and some crunchy guitars and most live music coming from your home speakers sounds crappy. Even though the actual live show at the venue could be insane, a live hardcore band will never sound as good over your internet connection as it will in person. As it always has with this kind of music, it comes down to the live show, and the thing about live shows is you should probably be there when they happen.
Half of hardcore is the live performance. The recorded tracks are what get you interested perhaps, and they’re definitely what keep you going, but the live show is what it’s all about: being between a certain set of a walls with a certain set of people playing your favorite set of tunes. You go to your favorite venue with familiar graffiti impetuously scribbled on the walls. You stand in a crowd of 50, 100, 500 people wearing shirts of bands you’ll be seeing next month or whose CD you have laying around your car. You get pushed around, jump up and down, thrown front to back, toppled, drowned in the sweat of strangers, get a beer spilled on you, and get close enough to the band that the spit as their screaming flies past your eyelids. To use precise terms, there’s a vibe, an energy you get from the sense of community and from the charisma of the musicians striking chords you’ve heard alone in your room a thousand times. You go to a show to not be alone in your room anymore. You go to a hardcore show because there’s nothing like being at a hardcore show.
True, live streaming can allow you to virtually attend a show you otherwise might not have been able to attend. Boiler Room streams music events from all around the world, making it possible for someone who lives in New York City to “attend” a concert in London. Live streaming also may introduce you to new bands before you decide you want to spend your money on a ticket. However, you don’t get an accurate depiction of what the band in question is actually like because you’re not physically in the space, and you could end up hating a band you might have otherwise loved.
Am I standing atop a hill with a torch in one hand and a mace in the other shouting, “Down with the internet!”? No. Is live concert streaming a terrible development in technology? By no means. However, does it make sense for genres that have historically and culturally found a home in dingy basements and mosh pits? Not in my book.
Earlier this week, Pennsylvania-native metal band August Burns Red debuted the second single off of their upcoming album, Found In Far Away Places. This will be the band’s seventh album and their first studio release after joining Fearless Records. The new single, entitled “Identity,” consistent with August Burns Red fashion, combines an ultra-melodic chorus with heavy riffs and vocals laden with emotion.
One of if not the best parts of this track is its radical surf tremolo picking verse/interlude. The segment gives the song a vintage, West Coast feel and keeps the listener guessing at what might follow. The lyrics to the song are powerful and expressive, nodding to self-acceptance in the face of criticism. The song ends with the repetition of, “I’m standing firm/ It’s who I am, who I am/ You can’t keep me, you can’t keep me down/ I’m moving on/ I’m living free, living free/ You can’t stop me, you can’t stop me now.” The lyrics are certainly empowering and can hold meaning for any individual, no matter the circumstance.
“Identity” proves that ABR has still got it, consistently finding new ways to bring something fresh to the metalcore genre. Speaking recently with The Aquarian in regards to the new album and the band’s unique musical choices, guitarist JB Brubaker said, “We aren’t trying to reinvent the metalcore genre, but we certainly aren’t interested in sounding like the latest wave of bands.” If “Identity” is indicative of the sound of Found in Far Away Places, fans have nothing to worry about.
Found In Far Away Places will be released by Fearless Records on June 30th. Give the new single a listen below and let us know what you think in the comments!
by Kelly Fay
Miss May I have been pretty busy since the beginning of 2015. After being on the road in support of August Burns Red, the Ohio-based quintet has seemingly found time to not only write but also fully record their fifth studio album. Keeping fans up to date on the whole studio process via Instagram, it looks as if the final recordings for their upcoming record have finally been completed. Now it’s off to mixing to get those masters ready for release!
This time around Miss May I opted to go back to producer Joey Sturgis who worked on their first two records, Apologies Are For The Weak and Monument. Sturgis is easily one of the most well respected producers in the scene and best known for his work with The Devil Wears Prada and Asking Alexandria. (His work on AA’s “The Final Episode” is certified gold.)
Fans can expect the new Miss May I record to drop later this year. But, as they wait for some upcoming jams, let’s take it back to one of our favorite Sturgis-produced throwbacks, “Relentless Chaos.” Stay metal, my friends!