August Burns Red – “Rescue and Restore”

(Photo Credit: Amazon)

Grade: B

Key Tracks: “Provision,” “Sincerity”

August Burns Red have never been a critic’s choice band, and I’ve never paid them any attention in the past. But their sixth album, “Rescue & Restore,” is surprisingly succinct. Metal albums rarely come as a full package like this one does. There is a statement on this album, and while I am not sure exactly what it is, the band is trying to get their point across. Most of the songs fit together nicely into something closer to a narrative than is expected. This album seems like it was developed as a number of combined thoughts, not just a bunch of songs packaged together as an album, the fault of many metal records.

This album is pretty relentlessly heavy. The drums beat throughout, the guitars are always screaming. Lyrics are hidden behind screaming and growling (at many different pitches, which helps deviate tracks from each other). Quiet moments intersect heavy breakdowns and melodic riffs. There are two segments of spoken word, the first of which is exceptionally corny (in the song “Spirit Breaker”), laughably so. And the songs do begin to sound alike the longer the album goes on, another fault of many metal albums. But the album is a surprising success, drawn out and chillingly heavy. It won’t win any new listeners to the genre, but fans should embrace it as a great work.

If you like this, try: Deafheaven’s album “Sunbather.” Not really related in any way other than being ridiculously heavy, but it’s one of the albums of the year.

-By Andrew McNally