August Burns Red are metalcore’s best band, and Found In Far Away Places may be their best album. Messengers and Constellations have always been the quality standard for the band, with Leveler coming off as a disappointing follow up to the latter and Rescue And Restore doing its best to mitigate some of that pain. Found In Far Away Places doesn’t try to one up any album, it just becomes its own powerful, heart wrenching piece of music. It has some of the heaviest moments in August Burns Red history followed with some of its most beautiful and interesting ones. It straddles genres, dabbling in western, surf rock, techno and chiptune style interludes, and August Burns Red may have finally stepped out of the bounds of metalcore and into a whole new genre they have created.
The album opens with ‘The Wake’, which couldn’t be a more fitting title. It punches listeners in the gut with its brutal riffing and depth plumbing breakdowns, rivaling Constellations ‘Rationalist’ in terms of pure destruction. Jake Luhrs is still one of the best vocalists, his screams are filled with raw emotion and his lows shake speakers and concert venues alike, Found In Far Away Places is filled with his trademark assault as he decries non-believers and hypocrite’s alike. The microscope is on the you and the pressure is felt with every line, very few bands channel as much pure feeling and emotion in every track.
Songs like ‘Identity’, ‘Majoring In The Minors’ and ‘Separating The Seas’ contain some of the most bewildering and ingenious tonal switches and interludes. Something only dabbled in on Leveler, ultimately leading to its confusing and half-hearted songs, Found In Far Away Places nails it. The interludes are some of the albums best moments and only make the following breakdowns that much more affecting and annihilating. ‘Ghosts’ features the bands first and only real use of “clean” singing with a guest spot from Jeremy McKinnon of A Day To Remember, and it fits surprisingly well. The vocals are only used in one spot and make ‘Ghosts’ feel like one of the heaviest tracks they have ever done due to the juxtaposition.
Found In Far Away Places is dense, and being filled with nearly an hour of powerful music, it is emotionally taxing in the best way possible. Strings, acoustic guitars, maracas and more make it into the mix, making it a roller coaster of sounds and genres. August Burns Red can’t even necessarily be considered metalcore anymore, with their deathcore level breakdowns and gutturals, melodeath screaming and a dozen other genres sprinkled in.
August Burns Red are at the top of their game with Found In Far Away Places and make a case for one of 2015’s best albums in what is growing to be an incredibly crowded year. With age they have become more mature but no less full of life, they destroy everything in their path and accuse anyone not up to the task. August Burns Red holds themselves along with everyone else to a high standard and after Found In Far Away Places, we owe it to ourselves and them to live up to expectations.