August Burns Red: Rescue & Restore (2013) Review:

The band never needed rescuing and restoring, but it got it nonetheless.

Doves are notoriously tricky to catch.
Doves are notoriously tricky to catch.

Rescue & Restore follows on the August Burns Red norm by not following a verse-chorus-verse-chorus structure, instead opting for each track to flow fantastically well, building and building, chopping and changing – never becoming stale.

As this is the band’s sixth album however, fans should know what to expect, and boy does this deliver. Rescue & Restore is as good as Constellations, equalling the best the band has ever produced, and it is also the smartest.

August Burns Red are known for producing intellectual albums that feed off what appears to be a lack of structure; Rescue & Restore is the smartest yet, with each (on first listen-through, mental) part adding to a fantastic whole. On the track Creative Captivity however, I think they were trying to be too smart with vocals that can’t really be heard through the first half of the song. Despite the (few and far between) hiccup like that, each song is a joy to listen to, getting better through repeated play-throughs.

What makes this album particularly smart is its ability to break the norm (again, something one expects from listening to the band previously) – you never quite know what way the song is going to go, and just when you think you’ve clocked it, a curveball is thrown. It’s exciting, invigorating stuff that improves every time you listen.

What helps in this regard is how talented the band is. Fans would know this of course, but the level of skill on show is momentous, but you do stop to think whether they could do a song with a slower tempo. Each one of the 11 songs on Rescue & Restore is played at a blistering speed, and there is never any time to catch your breath, I love this about the band, as it makes gives the album an exciting atmosphere that is awesomely heavy. Some listeners however may be put off by the band’s (apparent to the new listener) lack of structure and memorable riffs, perhaps wishing for a slower pace – groove metal this is not.

But I love the tempo and energy to every song in this record, even if not every song is quite up to each other’s standards. The songs Count it All as Lost, Animals and The First Step are standouts, these three being the most aggressive of the album, once again proving that Jake Luhrs can do a fine death growl. This is certainly not a case of 3 out 11 tracks are good, the rest are bad however. Each track is a masterful metal song, but the three listed above are my favourite, taking the album from not as good as Constellations to as good as Constellations, and anyone who knows that album will understand that this is very high praise indeed.

What is definitely a step up from Constellations in Rescue & Restore however is the production and musicality. Each player is performing at their best here, Luhrs has never sounded so good, JB Brubaker and Brent Rambler own it on the guitar, showing a talent for thrash, punk and death metal guitar-work, Matt Greiner is incredible on the drums. But the real star of the show for me is Dustin Davidson on the bass, never before has the under-loved instrument been this prevalent in an August Burns Red record, I love that the band decided to include it as much as they did, with some songs sounding like they were written around the bass, instead of the other way around.

Despite all this praise though, I do have one major complaint with this album, one that holds true to all of August Burns Red’s work. There is too much talking. Talking in metal songs always distracts from the end product, making the whole affair at times just seem a little pretentious.

Rescue & Restore however is a must own for fans of the band and the genre – a record that must become part of your staple music diet.

Summary:

Rescue & Restore shows that August Burns Red is a band that isn’t afraid to change the formula, all while sticking to their own unique sound. We are treated to a barrage of crashing guitars, slapping bass, thumping drums and roaring vocals that are expertly put together to create a mentally stimulating metal album quite unlike anything you’ve heard before.

Possibly the band’s best, an essential record for Metal fans.

90/100

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