If a metalcore band loses its vocalist, does anybody notice? While August Burns Red's latest frontman Jake Luhrs may have a slightly broader range than his predecessor; much of this bands latest album stays the course and melds thrashy Euro death metal with punchy hardcore elements to create well, you know. Not everything is as it should be though for this time around there is a definitely an increased metal quotient to what August Burns Red attempt here.
In a smart move the band have chosen to enlist the services of producer Tue Madsen (The Haunted, Himsa) to flesh this out, giving their Euro dalliances a rather authentic air. Regardless, there's still good cop/bad cop vocals, percussive maulings and screeching harmonics abound as well as chunky riffing and unified displays of hostile technicality. All in all, it's an album that is as well-played as it is well-worn.
It's brutally heavy, full of spiraling breakdowns and talented musicianship. It even has some emotional heart to it as the band continually whip up a metallic fervor that is all encompassing. And yet, for no real fault of their own, it will fail to make many even bat an eye. The commercial vortex that is metalcore has engulfed far too many other genres to see a band like August Burns Red hold their ground and weather the storm. If you need another entirely solid, above average metalcore album to add to your collection, "Messengers" is ready and waiting. If not, then feel free to return to sender.
(3 / 5)