August Burns Red – Rescue and Restore

By Lee Brown on June-20-2013 | Filed under Reviews | Tags : , , | Share

August Burns Red – Rescue and Restore
Score: 4/5Score: 4/5Score: 4/5Score: 4/5Score: 4/54
4.7 (44 votes)

Artist: August Burns Red
Album:  Rescue and Restore
Label: Solid State Records
Release Date:  06.25.13
Reviewer: Lee Brown

Tracklisting:

  1. Provision
  2. Treatment
  3. Spirit Breaker
  4. Count It All as Lost
  5. Sincerity
  6. Creative Captivity
  7. Fault Line
  8. Beauty in Tragedy
  9. Animals
  10. Echoes
  11. The First Step

When it comes to the music world there are inovators and there are those who go, “that was pretty cool, lets do something like that.” August Burns Red has always been on the trendsetter side of the equation, but with Rescue and Restore, they are making a statement about that fact. Feeling that the metalcore genre has become overly saturated with too similar riffs and tones, ABR “turns a critical eye to the oft-maligned genre, leading by example to prove that bands can still find exciting new ways to expand the genre without simply falling into repetitive trappings.”

Rescue & Restore is about challenging other bands and ourselves, as well as fans of this music, to want more
than whatever happens to be the current buzz,” explains guitarist and principal songwriter JB Brubaker. “We’ve
done our best with each new album to try to push our sound in new directions and we’d like to see our peers do
the same. People need to realize that there’s not much of a difference between a metalcore song that has a
couple breakdowns with a repeating chorus and the latest Lady Gaga song. This genre used to be better than
that. It can still be better than that” (ABR official Press release).

Considering such bold statements, Rescue and Restore needed to live up to more than just the inevitable hype of a new album, it needed to blaze a trail. It would be impossible to fashion an album around such a bold mission statement and then rest back into the all-too-familiar trappings of the genre. As fans already know, however, ABR never stands in one place. Fans know never to expect the same thing twice.

Rescue and Restore lives up to the bold mission statement of leading the metalcore genre to new destinations. Despite the global popularity of their last full studio album Leveler, ABR does not simply rehash or repackage their past work, but seeks to lead the genre itself into new and more creative soundscapes. A perfect example of this can be found on the aptly titled “Creative Captivity,” which opens with a seemingly Asian themed sound, the Spanish sounding guitar work on “Treatment,” strings on “Spirit Breaker,” and oh so much more. 

That being said, ABR does not delve into experimentation as much as, say, Becoming the Archetype did on Celestial Completion or Hope for the Dying did on Aletheia. The core of this record is still that signature August Burns Red sound that created a global fan-base for the band. It still has those signature deep growls and guttural moments, and of course it has some of the best musicianship across any genre…Just don’t be surprised by the fact that you’re just as likely to hear Jake Luhrs break into Me Without You-esque spoken word as you are to hear him obliterate his vocals.

Rescue and Restore begins with “Provision.” “Provision” begins to introduce the dual themes that come across as the album moves on. It is both tied to what the ethos of the record itself is, and it incorporates a challenging spiritual message. Lyrics like, “Losing it all lead me to You,” and “it’s times likes these you forget to remember who you are… I’m just as much the problem as the man behind bars, he did with his business what I do in my heart.” It is at this point in the review that I usually mention something about the musicianship on a particular song, but… this is August Burns Red. The musicianship across the entire album is varied and phenomenal.

“Treatment” follows with an above-par metalcore excursion set apart by the spanish guitar influenced interlude. The song takes a hard look at faith and states, “stop telling us what happens when we die, start helping us… while we’re still alive.” The song asks us to weigh our motives when it comes to how and why we interact (and share the faith?) with others.

“Spirit Breaker” is not afraid to break pace mid-stream and just enjoy some beautifully somber melodies. This is one of the key tracks to look for spoken word to make an appearance. While the use of it adds flavor to the song as a whole, the way in which it is read sounds a little stilted, as if Jake were reading a letter someone else wrote (yes, I realize JB does much of the writing, but you get the point).

“Count it all as Lost,” which may take it’s title from Phillipians 3:8, starts out with a harrowing admission that, “I want to believe these words are more than letters to me… (but), I keep breaking my promises… I need You here.” The song is a great redemptive track that focuses on the lostness of our broken state set against the promise of new life.  As with “Spirit Breaker” there is a great musical break, though not as divergently “Spanish” in sound.

“Sincerity” hits hard with some great metalcore that doesn’t diverge, but certainly leads the pack in skill and execution (and has some fantastic lyrical depth). The great diversion is left to “Creative Captivity.” Tying itself most closely with the theme (mentioned above) of the album, this is a song not afraid to explore. As mentioned above, “Creative Captivity” starts out with an edgy Asian melody that quickly blends into a rock flavor with muted screaming behind it.

More than any other track, “Creative Captivity” needs to prove what the band is setting out to do by leading the metalcore genre. Had this track fell flat, so would their message. Luckily, the absolute mastery of instrumentation and light use of any vocals at all seem to beckon and cry out for more experimentation and instrumentation across the chug-a-chug-a’s and double bass pedals-centric genre. “These colors must never fade,” seems almost a warning to other musicians, while “we will fight to save this…this is a cause worth fighting for… we will rescue and restore,” prove the central battle cry of the album. Nicely enough, the track concludes with horns blaring.

“Fault Line” takes a step back and looks at the idea of carrying the banner from an intimate perspective. The lyrics, “If I could do more, I promise I would, but this is your time… Scream your sorrow, proclaim your love, just don’t call me your hero,” are a direct challenge to the musical world to step up and innovate.

“Beauty and Tragedy,” a track that lives up to those two divergent word pictures, features some of the best musicianship (which is saying something) on the record, while also packing lyrical dynamite. From the rolling thunder to the very real feeling of cold air coming through the speakers, Jake once again uses spoken word (this time much more effectively) to proclaim, “tomorrow the world will be a little colder, but I’ll be sure to breathe for both of us… I can’t hear your voice, but that’s ok, because I can feel you in my heart.” The way atmospheric elements are used in cooperation with the spoken word track almost reminded me of some of the better moments of Blindside’s The Great Depression or With Shivering Hearts We Wait.

“Animals” is pretty straightforward. There is a little bit of fry screaming (or closer to it), and some very interesting guitar licks. The message “we are not animals” points to a more eternal worth each person should look towards. “Echoes” begins with simple, yet deep, guitar work that continues to show just how massively talented ABR is (but, you knew that).  The incorporation of clapping adds to the environmental sounds prior to the onset of the screaming, as well. The line, “celebrate new life,” repeated throughout, points to a future for the band’s beloved genre (as well as the condition of the human spirit), and implies that there is still much more to come.

In closing the album out, “The First Step” cements this bold two-fold declaration of hope for music and for the human condition through Christ with hopeful proclamation. “We’re so scared to take the first steps…why? The ground you walk on isn’t a straight line…don’t let the world pass you by.” As the closing song, “The First Step” is basically the hero moment. It is Maximus telling the evil Commodus that he will have his revenge in this life or the next. It is William Wallace telling the scared masses that “they can take our lives, but they can never take our freedom.” The words “we will replace the old guard with the new,” are spoken with such passion that they would certainly be fitting if they were coming out of Russell Crow’s Jor-El in the new Man of Steel movie.

The message is clearly, “we aren’t afraid to pick up the mantle and wear it… but, don’t follow our path, blaze your own. We’re still moving forward. Come with us, let’s move this thing forward together.” As a closing track, this is very effective. You leave the record emboldened and ready for the battle that is yet to come. You walk away energized and ready to take the high ground.

Overall: In the end, Rescue and Restore balances two themes with one outcome. This is a record about the brokenness of the human condition and the staleness of the metalcore genre. Yet, it is a battle cry to both. For our lives, there is restoration and rescue from the maker of our souls. For metalcore as a genre, it is a bold proclamation to step it up, innovate, and blaze new trails. The message is clearly, if not a little cocky, we’re going to take this thing to new levels, so either come alongside us or get left behind.

As with any August Burns Red album, this self-assured message is backed up with such massively powerful and skillful musicianship that no one should take issue with ABR claiming the mantle and calling their genre to arms. Rescue and Restore is just exactly what it sets out to be, it is a tight and cohesive musical experience that isn’t afraid to innovate musically and then look at their peers and say, “Okay, now it’s your turn.”

RIYL: For Today, Ark of the Covenant… August Burns Red (I mean we compare most other heavy bands to them, so that should say something, right?)

August Burns Red - Rescue and Restore, 4.7 out of 5 based on 44 ratings

Click here to list all the current reviews by Lee Brown

About the author Lee Brown

Lee Brown is Discipleship Pastor at Meadow Park Church in Columbus, OH. He is the author of "Here's How: An Introduction to Practical Discipleship," and is also an adjunct professor and content specialist for Mid-America Christian University. Most importantly, he is a loving husband and father. Lee loves jamming to bands like Blindside, Project 86, Demon Hunter, Spoken, Lecrae, and Lil' Dre. For more about Lee, be sure to visit www.KnightoftheSon.com. View all posts by Lee Brown

32 Responses to 'August Burns Red – Rescue and Restore'

  1. fusse says:

    one of the best reviews ever on this site. well done mr brown! cant wait to get these tunes into my ears!

    Reply

  2. Ty says:

    I agree. Great review. And I’m glad to hear they kept pushing the boundaries a little more. I probably would have bought the album anyway, but with the 5/5 rating it’s a sure thing!

    Reply

  3. FreedomGunfire says:

    Very happy to read this excellent (and positive) review. Very interesting to hear your take on how their lyrics function simultaneously as existential catharsis and creative summons.

    To other readers: I believe Jake Luhrs/ABR tweeted a coupon to get the album for $7.99 at Best Buy after release.

    Reply

  4. Lee Brown says:

    Big thanks to Solid State Records for sharing this review on Facebook. Everyone get ready for August Burns Red Week, next week.

    Reply

  5. Taras Savchuk says:

    Picking this up on Tuesday.

    Reply

  6. John B. says:

    I just found this at Lifeway 4 DAYS EARLY!!! I’m freaking out right now, can’t wait to give it a spin.

    Reply

  7. Luke Foster says:

    I still have yet to listen to this but if they have indeed experimented and not the weird stuff they did on Leveler than I will probably like.

    Reply

  8. Jacob1016 says:

    This is a great review! Can’t wait to hear it for myself!

    Reply

  9. Keith.Settles says:

    Sounds like a more mainstream sounding Between the Buried and Me. Really well put together album.

    Reply

  10. Jimmy says:

    Treatment is about not being prejudiced and discriminating against people (Source; JB Brubaker and Brent Young; both songwriters of the song), not about to “weigh our motives when it comes to how and why we interact (and share the faith?) with others.”

    Reply

  11. David Green says:

    I can’t wait for this! Fantastic review, and I hope the album will be just as good!

    Reply

  12. David Green says:

    I can’t wait for this! Fantastic review, and I hope the album will be just as good!

    Reply

  13. SxC Milie Girl says:

    Loved your review. You chose brilliant words to describe this album. I am so excited that I cannot wait anymore to have the album in my hands. thank u

    Reply

  14. Travis Aker says:

    Definitely a first day pick up for me,I can’t wait,and plus I got the New Extol Cd in the mail tomorrow so stoked.

    Reply

  15. Bryce says:

    This is definitely their most diverse release. I don’t even think that’s up for debate. I like how they released their most straightforward track first. Keeps fans of old material pleased, and whets the appetites of those who want more.

    Reply

  16. Bryce says:

    Best vocal performance – “Animals”
    Best musical performance – “Count It All as Lost”
    Best lyrics – “Treatment”

    Who agrees/disagrees?

    Reply

  17. John B. says:

    This album is excellent. I’m trying not to say anything too crazy since I’m waiting to see if a lot of my excitement is just based on hype and build-up, but seriously this album is awesome. Everything about it is top-tier, musicality, vocals, production, lyrics, this is definitely going to be near the top of my list at the end of the year.

    Reply

  18. platypusguy says:

    Something about the spoken word passages in Spirit Breaker and Beauty in Tragedy really gets to me. Really well done album

    Reply

  19. Lucas says:

    I’ve enjoyed ABR more and more with every release, with Leveler being my favorite, but I’ve had trouble really getting into them with their non-traditional song structures and lack of cleans. (I know, I know, but metal still isn’t my go to genre)
    All this to say, I think this is the first album of theirs I can really say I absolutely love. Can’t get some of these songs out of my head and the musicianship is outstanding. I’d give it a solid 4.5 and it hasn’t grown on me yet.

    Reply

  20. JMo9297 says:

    Absolutely their best work. Hands down.

    Reply

  21. Yorik says:

    Solid album. But def a copy paste from the last 3. Which is fine by me. Just thought they’d switch it up .05%… And also, the lyrics on this album rule, as always. One of my fave lyricists

    Reply

  22. akbarjohnston says:

    Now while I love ABR, and the new album is awesome, I find their view on music a bit elitist. They are basically shitting on anyone who ever picked up an intrument for the fun of it and learned a few licks. Not everyone had guitar or drum lessons at age 6 like I’m sure some of abr may have. You do not have to be a music theory snob to write a good song.
    That being said, they may be music theory geeks, but I still love their music. :)

    Reply

    • Lucas says:

      I don’t think they’re being elitist at all. I think that given their status in the metalcore world and having lots of peers, it’s perfectly reasonable for them to call for more creativity in the scene. In fact, good for them! I honestly feel like there’s so many bands and fans within the genre who just don’t have any respect for music anymore. It’s like no matter how generic or mediocre or just plain awful the overall product is, if you load your song up with breakdowns, it’s eaten up by all the self-indulgent scene kids who really care less about music and more about moshing.

      I find it incredibly refreshing to listen to an album like Rescue & Restore and hear the care put into every part of every song. I mean.. the stuff here is incredibly intricate and complex, and I can’t imagine how much time they had to put into these songs just to make them flow. And by the way, being confident in your work certainly isn’t a crime. It’s not like their boasting at how good they are anyway, they’re encouraging others to step out of their box and start making real music. And I guess one could say “real music” is relative, but skill certainly isn’t and it’d be hard to deny the skill displayed on R&R. So yeah…I think they have every right to call the scene out. And I respect the band all the more for it.

    • Tim says:

      Creativity never automatically equals quality.

      I’m creative. The music I produce is not of a high quality though.

  23. Chandler A. says:

    @akbarjohnston I see how you would think that, but I have to disagree also. First of all, ABR is calling for more creativity, not technicality. If they were like calling other bands out for a lacking solo or poor musicianship that’d be one thing haha, but asking for more creativity doesn’t necessarily mean better, just more unique in style. That may even mean a simpler melody or structure here or there! Also, ABR are some of the nicest dudes out there. They took the time to shake everyone’s hand at Warped, Jake let me get a picture with him (hence my new pic), and you should of seen the line of people waiting to talk to Matt at the HeartSupport tent. And it’s not like that was a meet and greet, he was sincerely talking to people about their life and issues they face (either that or he was a total jerk cuz there were people crying at the tent haha). So yeah I definitely don’t think ABR was going for that. Also, here’s a funny video related to originality:

    Reply

  24. SxC Milie Girl says:

    Now that I have the record in my hands. I just can say that I am obssesed with this masterpiece because that is the word I chose to describe this cd. I cannot stop listening to it. By the way, I cannot choose my fav ones. XD

    Reply

  25. Jacob Loredo says:

    I want this album soo bad, but i cant find it in stores and i don’t like to order stuff online

    Reply

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