Album review: August Burns Red – Death Below

Metalcore mainstays August Burns Red continue to push forward as they hit album number 10.

Album review: August Burns Red – Death Below
Dan Slessor

Celebrating their 20th anniversary with their 10th full-length – if you're including 2012’s Christmas album – August Burns Red remain one of the most vital forces in the glutted metalcore canon. Though arguably having peaked with 2013’s Rescue & Restore, every record since has maintained the high standard they push themselves to live up to, and Death Below is another solid addition to their catalogue.

As always, their greatest weapon is guitarist JB Brubaker, whose lithe leads and flawless soloing elevate every song – particularly Backfire, but not a single track here misses the spot. The bouncing, lurching Revival and swirling, anthemic Tightrope more than earn their place on your ‘Best Of August Burns Red’ playlist, demonstrating their capacity for blending sonic weight and understated melody perfectly.

However, they are actually best at their quietest, such as on the gorgeous post rock-esque pre-climactic noodling passages of the nearly eight-minute The Cleansing, and the first half of Fool’s Gold In The Bear Trap, both of which are deeply stirring. They've also roped in a few friends to help them out, most notably Killswitch Engage’s Jesse Leach on Ancestry, and Underoath’s Spencer Chamberlain on Reckoning, both of whom add their own extra dimension to proceedings.

This may not be their greatest moment, but it certainly rewards those who take the time to sink into it, for this is superior metalcore played with heart and avoiding the cookie-cutter cliches of the genre. Death may be below, but for ABR, things continue to look up.

Rating: 3/5

For fans of: Killswitch Engage, The Amity Affliction, Parkway Drive

Death Below is released on March 24 via Sharptone

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