Genre giants AUGUST BURNS RED are poised to release one of the most anxiously awaited hard rock albums of 2011 – a colossal effort entitled Leveler, available in stores and online June 21st – and are excited to reveal the tracklisting and atypical cover art.
The album will be available in both regular and deluxe editions – a first for ABR. Explains JB Brubaker: “For the bonus tracks on the deluxe editions, we were able to collaborate with some close friends and amazing musicians. Our friends in the post rock band BELLS did an amazing job reworking our song ‘Pangaea’ and making it into something completely different. It sounds absolutely huge and we love it. Our close friend, Zach Veilleux, a virtuoso piano player, shredded a piano rendition of our song ‘Boys of Fall.’ Dustin and I recorded an acoustic version of our song ‘Internal Cannon’ with some mariachi flare and a ridiculous guitar solo courtesy of Jason Suecof. Finally, we threw in one of the original midi tracks from the Leveler writing process to give everyone an idea of how our songs sound before they get recorded. It’s pure 1988 Nintendo bliss.”
While AUGUST BURNS RED have never succumbed to the artistic trends in metal album covers, Leveler represents an even larger departure than fans have seen on the band’s previous albums. The artwork, created by artist Jordan Crane, brings a striking comic book flair that the band wanted the artwork to encompass.
“What we were going for with the cover was an image of a house that had been destroyed by a natural disaster,” says Brubaker. “The cover depicts a house that has been leveled by something like a hurricane. You can see the trees in the background are bent sideways from enduring strong winds. There are a bunch of chickens in the foreground who have come out of hiding to continue on with their daily activities. The chickens represent the calm after the storm. They represent life and the promise of a new day. The art has a real indie-rock vibe to it, which I like because while we’re obviously not an indie band, we’re not a typical metal band either.”
For Leveler, AUGUST BURNS RED re-teamed with super producer Jason Suecof, the man behind the board on their 2009 breakout, Constellations, which landed at #24 on the Billboard Top 200 and has sold more than 90,000 copies. The result is an album that pushes the band’s sonic boundaries in every direction, yet emerges as an unquestionably heavier album than its predecessor. It’s a game-changer, for ABR, and for fans of hard rock.
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4.5/5| Posted August 26, 2011
August Burns Red returns with their new album, Leveler, and it delivers everything you would expect from an ABR album and more. The things you would expect from these guys are excellent breakdowns, well-placed tempo and key changes, and well written lyrics. The "and more" includes something I don't think I've ever heard in a metal album yet, salsa music. I'm dead serious. During one song, you're listening to a traditional ABR song and suddenly it changes into a salsa instrumental for about 10 seconds before switching back to metal. This happens twice in the same song .
Leveler is another excellent album by August Burns Red and proves that more ABR is always welcome even if it doesn't really change musically that much.
They're back!| Posted July 09, 2011
August Burns Red is a little band from Manheim, PA who stormed onto the scene in 2005 with the brutal Thrill Seeker. Since then they acquired vocalist Jake Luhrs to replace Josh McMannes in 2006. They then released the mind-blowing Messengers in 2007, and the technical Constellations in 2009. Now they have made a somewhat triumphant return with Leveler. Here is a track-by-track breakdown (pun intended) of the album:
Empire: 10/10 - Everything you need from ABR: Explosive breakdowns, crushing drums courtesy of Matt Greiner, and technical riffs. The gang vocal section is amazing and fits in well. Jake's range has greatly improved, too.
Internal Cannon: 9/10 - This one has one of the best breakdowns on the album. Also the best guitar line by JB in this song. I gave it a 9 because of the weird Mariachi sections.
Divisions: 7/10 - The first half of this song is insane: Jake goes all over the place vocally, and is his best performance. Drumming is brutally fast, and the breakdown destroys everything. The second half is one long chord progression and drum pattern, and is a bit boring.
Cutting the Ties: 8/10 - This song has the best intro I've heard since "Truth of A Liar". The middle has some good sections, but kind of uninteresting. It picks up the pace again at the end with a great breakdown that saves the song.
Pangaea: 8/10 - This song showcases the technical abilities of guitarist JB Brubaker. Incredible solo that reminds me of the solo in Emery's "I'm Not Here For Rage..." which JB also performed. Great overall song.
Carpe Diem: 5/10 - The only good thing about this song is the argument vocals between Jake and bassist Dustin. Other than that it's 90% chord progression and 10% steel guitar. It sounds like a remix of "Meridian" but worse.
40 Nights 9.5/10 - This song pounds you with classic ABR breakdowns, and makes you think Messengers and Constellations had a child. You can hear the lyrical maturity with lyrics like: "You are Goliath standing firm in your light. We are David and you're in our sights."
Salt & Light: 6/10 - The first half of this song sounds decent, and a run-of-the-mill hardcore song. It's enough to keep your interest until it turns slow with spoken word vocals. The ending has some clean vocals that sound a little out of place.
Poor Millionare: 10/10 - The most hard hitting song on the album, both musically and lyrically. It has the most in-your-face lyrics of any ABR song to date. As you get pummeled by the metalcore bliss, Jake delivers the KO punch as he screams "You are the pretender!"
1/16/2011: ?? - Sad story behind this song.
Boys of Fall: 9/10 - This song is a super fast rollercoaster thrillride. It is dedicated to some boys who were killed in Lancaster, PA. I only gave this 9 because it slows down at the end, and that loses my interest.
Leveler: 9.5/10 - The perfect way to end this installment of ABR history. Sweeping guitars, crazy drums, and brutal breakdowns remind us why ABR made it this far. This song deals with forgiving someone who hurt Jake in the past, but he acknowledges God for helping him.
Overall: 9/10 - ABR set the bar so high on the first three albums, that it was almost impossible for this one to beat it, but it was close. Old ABR fans will still have much to love on most songs. This one will tide us over until the next album, and here's hoping the experimenting won't continue.
Best Album YET!!!!| Posted July 06, 2011
This is by far the best album from August Burns Red and the rest can only get better!!!!! It is everything that I had expected it to be and it really lived up to the hype about it. August Burns Red is the best Christian Metalcore band ever and Leveler is probably the best Christian Metalcore album!!!
Great metal from a great band| Posted June 24, 2011
I was not expecting to much from August Burns red new cd Leveler. much of the growl vocal bands are sounding the same.But these boys threw some new tricks into the bag.with diffrent breakdowns with slow elements that leave you back to wanting to headbang some more.again my favorite metal cd this summer worth checking out and buying