With Found In Far Away Places, August Burns Red presents us its sixth studio album. I’ve been a follower of the band since the Thrillseeker debut, and with every new upcoming release the question arises whether ABR will be able to match the previous work.
So far I’ve never been disappointed, and though it is a rarity for a band to keep being creative for six consecutive albums, ABR is able to not only reach the level of all their previous work but even continues to top it.
True to Self in Music
On one hand the strong and characteristic sound is present as ever. “The Wake” makes it clear that this is going to be an ABR record from beginning until end. Brutal, powerful, impressive. Identity confirms the melodic strength of the guitar work.
The same goes for “Ghosts” with a great guest performance by Jeremy McKinnon (A Day To Remember) and for “Broken Promises”.
With Creative Touch
On the other hand, they’ve also experimented with their sound and not shunned new influences. “Martyr” introduces a jazzy sound that is quite unexpected but fits perfectly in the overall sound. This jazzy sound is repeated later in “Blackwood”. “Separating the Seas” also introduces a melancholic, almost Russian/gipsy sounding tune, that is a welcome and fresh sound to the whole.
With “Majoring in the Minors” we get a western themed intermezzo that at the same time gives us the album title. The choruses beg to be sung along. “Everlasting Ending” depicts a melodic hope that I found myself impossible to sit still to.
The most experimental song is probably “Vanguard”, in which ABR knows how to capture an anthem sound that I want to keep putting on repeat. This sound gets it’s closure in “Marathon”, which is closer to ABR’s original sound, but still has this fresh creativity.
Maybe the only comment on the creativity is that ABR could have toned it down a bit; there are so many intermezzos that the drive is taken out of the album a bit, but on the whole that’s a minor comment. Each song stands strong by itself.
True to Self in Lyrics
Lyrically, ABR does not evade its Christian background and Jake Luhrs addresses personal issues in “Broken Promise” and “Twenty-One Grams”, but also challenges the so-called Prosperity Gospel so many pastors preach in “Blackwood” (“White skin, white teeth, black heart, black lungs / Sleeping on your stacks of millions / As your followers struggle to overcome, overcome / Sickness, poverty, heartbreak, hatred are dealt with every day / You can’t relate”).
All songs, including the amazing “Twenty-One Grams”, show the amazing drums of Matt Greiner, who is responsible for a big part of ABR’s characteristic sound. There are too many fragments to mention wherein he displays his skill, it is simply all over the place.
Found In Far Away Places is creative and strong. ABR was able to reinvent its sound while staying true to their fans as well. It’s a beautiful gem that I will keep revisiting for months and years to come.
August Burns Red – Found In Far Away Places (Fearless Records, 2015)