For anyone that was looking for August Burns Red to produce a heavy album again, it’s here. Leveler continues to show the band’s ever-evolving sound that keeps each of their albums sounding different than the last. Metal band August Burns Red, comprised of vocalist Jake Luhrs, guitarists JB Brubaker and Brent Rambler, bassist Dustin Davidson, and drummer Matt Greiner, has made a niche for producing music that has odd time signatures, fast tempos, and careful guitar work. All of these elements plus a few unexpected surprises can be found on Leveler.
Leveler starts out with the hard hitting song “Empire” with all the typical August Burns Red elements; odd time signatures, fast drumming, low bass breakdowns, with the added element of half sung, half screamed gang vocals in the middle of the song. “Carpe Diem” shows the band’s true talent for musical expansion. The song features a slide guitar over heavy bass sounds before Luhr’s loud growls come back in to keep the heaviness of the album moving along.
Luhr’s vocal are truly one of the largest growing points of Leveler. Jake has fully come into his own as a vocalist on this album, with screams ranging from growls to high pitched yells, while adding a rather emotional element to most of the songs. Davidson is neither quiet, nor shy on this album as both a bassist and vocalist. Many of the songs feature strong, fast bass lines which are easily heard even with Brubaker and Rambler’s careful and distinct guitar work. Davidson also contributes his vocals more on this album than on those previous. “Carpe Diem” in particular displays the contribution of Davidson’s screams in comparison to Luhr’s vocals the best on the album.
The closing five tracks of the album could not have been put together better. Track eight “Salt and Light” features sung gang vocals, before the song “Poor Millionaire.” The song starts with a short drum solo before a distinct and low melody enters the song. The second to last track on the album “Boy of Fall” is perhaps the heaviest song on the album, only slowing down for a short guitar solo near the beginning of the song.
Overall, for August Burns Red, Leveler is a move in a direction that could not have been predicated and is done well with their musical risks. All of the songs, aside from “1-16-2011,” are heavy, fast and hard hitting even to diehard August Burns Red fan. The songs, tend to sound a little meshed and similar at first, but once deeper in the songs, each of them has their own emotion attached to them with newly found elements not found on previous August Burns Red records. Those who are fans of their album Thrill Seeker in particular, will be particularly satisfied with the work on Leveler.
Go download: “Boy of Fall”