Messengers, the second record to drop from the minds and hands of Lancaster, PA fivesome August Burns Red is more than just a collection of 11 raging metal songs that ravage the ears of their listeners with technical skill and immense passion. The record is, in fact, not only a musical collaboration, but also a lyrical one, where every member of the band contributed to the lyrical content with their own thoughts, ideas and messages. Hence the record’s intriguing title.
“We all contributed to the lyrics on this one whereas on Thrill Seeker our singer did all the writing,” Brubaker explains. “We all offered different ideas. Each of us wrote a set of lyrics and we’d pick a song we thought they’d fit with. It was a collaboration rather than one person.”
August Burns Red, who initially formed in March of 2003, began this writing process almost immediately after finishing their shattering debut, Thrill Seeker, at the end of 2005, collecting ideas to follow up that disc with something even bigger. The five members of August Burns Red spent almost the entire year and half they were touring in support of Thrill Seeker penning the songs that landed on Messengers, eventually entering the studio in February 2007 in Nashville with Tue Madsen (The Haunted, Himsa, Dark Tranquility, Extol), with whom the fivesome co-produced the album. The group spent the month refining the tracks into the aggressive, pounding songs you hear on the finished album.
“I think we wanted to continue with what our style is- stay in our niche- but expand upon it,” Brubaker says of the album. “It’s two years after our last record so we’re obviously going to be better at our instruments and more mature as songwriters. So to me it’s a natural progression from our album before.”
The album ranges from the heavily throbbing, double-bass-driven “Composure” to the crushing “An American Dream,” a song that drags the listener along by Luhrs’ callous screams and the band’s penchant for driving, metallic guitar riffs and intricate drumwork. The complexity of August Burns Red’s songwriting is apparent throughout, a clear indication of a band with rabid ambition and a burgeoning talent for crafting tight, compelling songs. Longtime fans fear not, though; Messengers is still the product of the same intense band who continue to blow the minds of everyone lucky enough to witness their memorable live show.
“I think it sounds like us,” Brubaker notes of Messengers. “But it’s more mature and musicianship-wise it’s way better. It’s much more technical. I think it really shows how far we’ve come.