Review by Michelle Cooney
August Burns Red “Guardians”
Release: April 3 2020 (Fearless Records)
Pennsylvania’s August Burns Red have released their eighth full length, Guardians. As with previous offerings, the album presents the band’s ability to transcend the metalcore genre.
Guardians features melodic riffs overlaying the richness of the drums, bass, and vocals. The result is generally heavy but offers instances of thrashiness and some well-placed light moments. Clean vocals on “Lighthouse” offer an admirable contrast, as well as some singalongable backing vocals on “Bones”.
Unlike some genre counterparts, lyrically Guardians is an anthology of empowering and positive messages. Subject matter includes culture, social media, religion, and healthcare. The album’s messages of hope are clear on “Paramount”, for example, in the lyric “Are you walking through fire? You have a friend / Are you stuck in a nightmare? My friend, you have a light to make it end.”
There is a sense of community here, in the theme of being there for each other. On “Defender” the lyrics proclaim, “I would do anything to make it through / But it takes two / One is me, the other’s you.” On top of the album’s excellent musicianship and impeccable production value, the message is strong: Let’s act as guardians for our fellow people.