Review || August Burns Red - "Guardians"

For anyone familiar with the melodic metal/metalcore sound, August Burns Red is a household name. The quintet from Pennsylvania is responsible for a couple of genre-defining albums over the past fifteen years and in 2020 they return with a brand new, banging album titled "Guardians". Consisting of 11 tracks, it is the band's ninth record due out on April 3rd via Fearless records. 

When "The Narrative" starts, the groove is overwhelming and sets the tone for the album. August Burns Red has a very trademark sound showcasing their technical skills and abilities, which keep manifesting in very interesting variations throughout "Guardians". Admittedly, the album weighs more on the metal side than on -core. The guitar leads are well crafted, on par with the soaring vocals, and pummelling drumwork. According to the press release, this was ABR's most collaborativeve effort to date and it clearly shows. Although this endeavor takes a mildly different turn from their recent material, everything is polished and the compositions feel very fresh and modern, all while still carrying a distinct ABR ghost. What I find most interesting is how memorable most of the songs are. August Burns Red has meticulously created a balance between the engaging melodies and some very compelling, oldschool elements we all love.
If I had to pick favorites the tracks that stand out the most for me, those would be "Paramount", with the crushing guitars and moving singalong, the single "Defender", with the gripping vocals and "Lighthouse", another very strong structure, where cleaner vocals are introduced and enhance the intensity of the song. Also, "Three Founains" which closes tha album with a bang. If you weren't convincd already that these guys are masters of songwriting, this song will blow your mind.

Overall, "Guardians" is a beautiful record. It's still very technical as one would expect, still very heavy but melodic and the tracks are lean muscle, without any fillers, and flow very nicely. It is positively a step further from the earlier work and a very natural continuation of the ABR legacy.
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