Album Review :
Ace Augustine - The Absolute

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Band: Ace Augustine

Title: The Absolute

Label: Strike First Records

Release Date: January 18, 2011

Reviewer: Joshua Clark

Track Listing:

  1. Justifiers
  2. Looks Promising
  3. Jonah SPoke of Innocence
  4. Negotiations
  5. Senior Years at Sky City
  6. Delorean
  7. Axioms
  8. The Debt That All Men Pay
  9. The Merchant Tales
  10. The Absolute

Ace Augustine is a young Christian metal band out of the fruitful musical land of Lancaster, PA. Taking musical cues from the fertile music grounds of Lancaster, PA from bands such as August Burns Red. Ace Augustine plays their own brand of technical metal mixed with some hardcore elements. The band released their first EP “The Glory of Trumpets” in 2009 and upon being signed on Strike First Records is set to release their debut album The Absolute.

Musically this band excels on many levels and left this metal lover very pleased. Ace Augustine treats our ears with a majority of styles in the metal spectrum with some hints of hardcore thrown in for good measure. Their brand of metal is very technical and the talented five-piece soar and excel at playing the style. Drummer Doug Fellenbaum plays at a variety of tempos and throws in a fair amount of pleasing fills. The guitarists Tyler Chadwick and Alex Bolton don’t slack in the least. They throw out a number of intriguing riffs and don’t just play the typical down tuned riffs. While bassist Spencer Barnett isn’t as noticeable as the rest of the band, he does his job filling in the rest of the sound and creating a heavy atmosphere. Musically I was really pleased with what this band is capable of and the amount of skill displayed in a number of these songs.

The vocals on this album I would describe as rather screechy or having a sort of hushed effect. They aren’t bad by any means but to me it makes them sound too quiet and I push them more in the background. The music sounds amazing so I guess some may find this as a positive, but I think the vocals more in the forefront would be much better. Initially I really didn’t care for the vocals, but upon many more times listening to the album I came to enjoy them. They are pretty unique and the vocalist sounds very frantic on numerous tracks. Which is not something you will hear with every other metal band out there. If Ben Moser’s vocals were to be compared to anyone, it would be hints of Mike Hranica (TDWP). Maybe that’s just me but I couldn’t help notice some similarities in both vocalists screaming. There are also segments of clean vocals thrown in that were used perfectly in this album. They were not overdone and were enjoyable with how the cleans were strategically placed. The fact that the clean vocals weren’t over done really made you appreciate and like them when they did come up. The screams mixed in with the bits of singing made me really enjoy the vocal aspect of Ace Augustine.

Sadly though some of these tracks sound similar in the way they are structured and give off a similar feel musically. The sound also isn’t super fresh but they are pretty darn good at how they execute it. Another reason for some tracks blending is the vocals have a similar sound throughout. Even though they sound good and have some switches here and there, it would have been nice to see a little more variety.  As good as vocalist Ben Moser’s vocals are they display a similar style on the majority of the tracks. So there is a bit of familiarity track to track but this overly doesn’t hinder what Ace Augustine brings to the table.

Lyrically the band is really bold about their faith and standing up for what they believe in. The lyrics dive into the faith the guys have in Christ and fighting for that faith. They take it another step by touching on joining with other believers to stand firm in that faith; supporting one another and seeing each other through tough times. I also like the distinct fact shown that we are all broken and torn; without Christ we have no hope and that He is the only thing worth living for. These are definitely not run of the mill lyrics, but instead are honest and passionate confessions pouring from the hearts the band.  It’s great to see that coming from such a young group of guys.

Some of my favorite tracks were “Justifiers,” “Jonah Spoke of Innocence,” “Negotiations,” “The Merchant Tales,” and “The Absolute.” But really if you like one track most likely you will have no problem enjoying each and every track. All 10 tracks come at you fast and hard, not letting up till the very end. The album also has a good running time of just over 40 minutes .Which gives a good track length for each song, with none being too short and none dragging on too long.

Overall: Ace Augustine was a great sign by Strike First Records and has released a pretty solid debut album. It is not perfect but that has not stopped me from thoroughly enjoying it. These guys have a ton of talent and I am looking forward to what they do in the future. They have the chance to become something big and make some waves in the metal genre. So I guess what I’m trying to say if you enjoy metal give this band a shot and pick up their debut. It’s technical, loud, and chaotic, all the things that make metal fans hearts leap inside. There is no denying the passion, heart, and skill of this young group of guys.  They have totally grabbed my attention and now I just wait in anticipation to see what they do next.