August Burns Red: Found in Far Away Places Review

Can be found most places, actually.

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Nice artwork, too.

August Burns Red I believe, peaked with Constellations and have hit something of a wall since, never quite matching the sound and intensity of Constellations. Three albums later we have 2015’s Found in Far Away Places, and while it is nowhere near bad in any conceivable way they have continued their trend of not quite matching their best; despite some interesting new advancements for the band.

The album starts off incredibly well, with The Wake capturing what I love about August Burns Red, a powerful message, delivered with power, anger and a kind of intensity missing in other tracks by the same band. Indeed, The Wake is possibly the heaviest track on the record, and in my mind, stands above the rest of the album. There isn’t a bad track on the record however, and to be honest, it is all of a very high quality, with performance from each band member of a very high standard throughout – particularly the drumming.

The mix of the album is good as well, but by no means perfect. Vocals are a tad too low in the mix for my liking, but in general this appears to be an issue with metal and it is only a minor complaint. Speaking of vocals, there are a small number of instances where delivery could have been a little better, although I think this is more an issue of songwriting than vocal delivery. There are a couple of moments where a word or line is repeated, and unfortunately, it just doesn’t really work; all it achieves is sucking the momentum out of the song.

Oddly however, the band’s (by now) divisive instrumental interludes do not destroy momentum, as each one has been well thought out. Indeed, Found in Far Away has something of consistency within its interludes, largely opting for something of a Mexican/Western feel throughout – personally, I love the interludes, as long as they aren’t in every track. Found in Far Away Places is probably August Burns Red’s most inventive album, and this is no bad thing.

I appreciate that the band is attempting to slightly alter the formula, and they have still retained all of their unique sound (still no choruses to be found here). However, I think the band has moved away somewhat from breakdowns, which has made them lose just a little bit of their intense, heavy sound. Not much mind, as Found in Far Away Places is the band’s heaviest record since Constellations, and possibly the best.

Whilst each track on the album offers fast-paced metal with quality drumming and guitar work, with something of an unpredictable nature, each track also offers something different. What I love about August Burns Red is their unpredictable nature, you never quite know what way a song is going, and even after many listens, you discover new little things about each track. The replay value of Found in Far Away Places is incredible: I’ve listened to it countless times, and I still love it.

Found in Far Away Places is more melodic than the band’s previous records, which is evident in a couple of harmony style moments and *shock horror* clean singing in the track Ghosts. I’m gonna level with you, when I first heard the clean singing part, I wasn’t sure if it worked; after a few listens through however, I know that it definitely does. Now the track is one of my favourites by the band. If you are close-minded enough to hate that moment though, know that it is only one moment in the whole record, just come prepared.

Several tracks stand out as personal favourites: The Wake, Separating the Seas, Ghosts, Broken Promises, Blackwood and Twenty-One Grams. The rest of the album is quality, but these six tracks are in a league of their own, and deserve mentioning. Found in Far Away Places oozes quality, and any complaints I have about the album are very minor, so do yourself a favour and buy this album.

Summary:

With Found in Far Away Places, August Burns Red have tried something slightly different, and it has worked. They’ve gone back to their heavier roots of Constellations, but have added in a new layer of panache. However, a small amount of the vocal delivery isn’t as good as it should be, backed up by repeated lyrics that just don’t work. Despite some minor complaints, Found in Far Away Places finds August Burns Red at their best: this is almost as good as Constellations, just not as consistent.

Don’t say another word and buy this album.

91/100

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