Published Jun 26, 2015Not many bands are talented or creative enough to invent a style of riffing so inextricably tied to their sounds that there's no other way to describe the progression when others bite it. Which is to say, there aren't many bands like August Burns Red. After a scattered beginning, they etched out the blueprints on which they'd base their career on Messengers. Then, with follow-up Constellations, they jacked up the melody on their driving fretboard runs and ran with it for another couple of albums. Until now.
On Found In Far Away Places, the band remove any dependence on their trademark formula. While that formula still peppers the release, they're broken up with enough disparate influences to keep it fresh; in other words, it's now a tool, not a crutch. Opener "The Wake" comes out of the gate snarling and "Martyr" transitions to an atmospheric midsection abruptly but seamlessly, while "Identity" does the same but gets twang-y instead.
These explorations diversify the metalcore the band has long since perfected, though occasionally they get lost on their detours, as on the accelerating folky hoedown on "Separating the Seas" and the more country-esque one on "Majoring in the Minors," which are more jarring than jaw-dropping. Working on transitioning into these rather than suddenly dropping into them could make a world of difference.
Still, the album's strongest asset is its sense of emotion that bleeds through, especially on guitar solos, in impressive contrast to the always-brutal breakdowns. This is the sound of a band breaking out, and they haven't sounded this fresh in over half-a-decade. (Fearless)