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