Our top 10 August Burns Red songs list presents the songs of a metalcore act from Pennsylvania, USA. The band was formed in 2003, with all its original members being high school students at that time. Practice sessions for the band initially happened at drummer Matt Greiner’s basement. August Burns Red would soon begin to play music in local shows. Their music started attracting quite a following, which prompted the members to record their first EP in 2004, dubbed Looks Fragile After All. With the departure of vocalist Jon Hershey, Josh McManness took on the lead vocalist role. Jon Hershey went to form a post-rock band going by the moniker Bells.
The year 2005 saw August Burns Red sign a recording contract with Solid State Records, where the band released its debut album, Thriller Seeker (2005). August Burns Red lost the services of vocalist Josh McManness and bassist Jordan Tuscan in 2006 after one tour. Josh was replaced by Jake Luhrs, while Dustin Davidson took Jordan’s place. The band released its sophomore album, Messengers (2007) with this new lineup (the lineup has remained compact since then). August Burns Red got into a new chapter of its life with vocalist Luhrs fronting the band, as evidenced by the success of the sophomore album. Critics and fans have dubbed Messengers (2007) as the band’s breakthrough album.
The band went on tour to promote its sophomore album across Europe and the USA, performing alongside Misery Signals, As I Lay Dying, Greeley Estates, and A Skylit Drive. After extensive touring, August Burns Red recorded covers to the popular Christmas carol “Carol of the Bells” and “…Baby One More Time” by Britney Spears. The band would soon release the EP Lost Messengers: The Outtakes in 2009 and a full-length album under the title Constellations (2009). Constellations (2009) was quite a hit having it peak at number twenty-four on the Billboard 200.
August Burns Red continued to release music that had metalcore fans entertained, thus awarding the band a cult following. The band’s impact in the metalcore scene started getting some recognition with the band nominated for a Grammy Award for the Best Metal Performance category for the song “Identity.” However, the band lost the award to “Cirice” by the Swedish band Ghost. Another nomination for August Burns Red on the same Grammy Award category was announced for the band’s song “Invisible Enemy.” The band lost the award to “Sultan’s Curse” by a heavy metal band, Mastodon. Despite winning no Grammy Award, these nominations showed how much of a success the band had been on the metalcore scene.
While August Burns Red has been regarded as a metalcore act, the band features elements of progressive metal and melodic metalcore sounds in its songs. The band prominently features melodic guitar riffs and odd time breakdowns and signatures. August Burns Red’s frontman Jake Luhrs uses clean vocals and spoken word parts in his singing sparingly, having him majorly do screaming vocals. The band has cited The Dillinger Escape Plan, Hopesfall, Symphony in Peril, Slayer, Meshuggah, and Pelican as its influences. Here are the top 10 August Burns Red songs that show the sparkle in the band’s metalcore sound.
Opening our top 10 August Burns Red songs is the hit “Defender,” from the band’s most recent eighth studio album, Guardians (2020). The boisterous song alludes to drummer Matt Greiner’s divorce. Matt explained in an interview how he reached out to his dad in time of need, having him struggle with this difficult issue. His dad kept him grounded throughout the divorce process and, at some point, stood as his “Defender” by taking some punches for him. Guitarist Brent Rambler’s love for comic books had the band animate the song’s lyrics to make a short story.
“Provision” is a magnificent opener for the band’s album Rescue & Restore (2013). The song alludes to a man who has been taken advantage of but fights to find positivity in the whole situation. “Provision” lyrics were penned by the band’s drummer Matt Greiner on top of a mountain in Germany on an afternoon before a show they were to perform. Specifically, the man in the subject is Matt, who had fallen victim to a financial scandal in 2012. “Provision” describes the resolve of the August Burns Red’s drummer as a result of the good he asked God to reveal to him in the whole tragedy. Matt ended up realizing that he (including most of us) is as sinful as the man behind bars for his crimes, only that our dirty businesses are done in our hearts.
#8- Beauty in Tragedy
Beauty in everything is solely based on the perspective through which we visualize a situation. August Burns Red revealed this to the band’s fans through the song “Beauty in Tragedy” from the album Rescue & Restore (2013). “Beauty in Tragedy” finds vocalist Jake singing about how the anticipation of eternal reunion eases the pain of the demise of a loved one.
Found in Far Away Places (2015) is a massively engaging album with August Burns Red pushing its creative boundaries while retaining the frenetic metalcore sound. The album’s greatness is evidenced by songs like “Identity,” which was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Metal Performance category.
“Identity” might have lost the Grammy Award to “Cirice” by Ghost, but its impact was huge, placing August Burns Red amongst great metalcore acts. Surprisingly, the song peaked on the Billboard Hot Christian Songs Chart and Billboard Christian Digital Songs Chart peaking at number thirty-five and forty-four, respectively.
#6- The Frost
Number six on our top 10 August Burns Red songs list is the hit “The Frost.” The song is featured on Phantom Anthem (2017), a record the band felt they should have released earlier owing to the high musicianship levels exhibited. “The Frost” features a huge chorus and spectacular heavy basslines. Guitarist Brent Rambler revealed in an interview that the great musicianship exhibited in “The Frost” and other songs in Phantom Anthem (2007) is credited to the consistency of the band’s lineup.
“Meddler” is one of the best August Burns Red songs from Constellations (2009). Like many songs in the album, Constellations (2009), “Meddler” exhibit August Burns Red’s career-long enthrallment with spirituality and destiny. Drummer Matt Greiner revealed that songs in the album were about directing the band’s attention to God, trusting him with all they had to do regardless of the circumstances.
#4- Invisible Enemy
Phantom Anthem (2007) stamps its place as one of the best August Burns Red albums with the hit “Invisible Enemy.” The band’s guitarist JB Brubaker wrote the song. Vocalist Jake Luhrs revealed the love for the song’s breakdowns and aggressive nature. Jake calls his lengthy scream in the song ‘The Wolverine Scream,’ asserting his dominance as one of the best screaming vocalists in the metalcore scene. The song was nominated for a Grammy Award for the Best Metal Performance but lost to “Sultan’s Curse” by Mastodon.
“Empire” is the opening track to August Burns Red’s album, Leveler (2011). Drummer Matt Greiner revealed in an interview that the song alludes to how the human race employs ingenuity as a means of power and pride. The song further describes God-given creativity that should be employed to channel the theme of purpose but is often manipulated. “Empire” was initially titled “Leveler; Make Level the Road for The Righteous.” However, the band considered the title “Leveler” best for the album.
Messengers (2007) was released when August Burns Red was a rookie band in the metalcore scene. Despite being a rookie then, the band’s popularity was erupting dramatically, with the band previously having released songs that promised a legacy in the making. Like most of the songs in the album, “Composure” brings an onslaught of technical breakdowns blended with impassioned screaming vocals. “Composure” alludes to pulling oneself together and taking strides away from what you can barely change.
Number one on our top 10 August Burns Red songs list is the hit “Ghost.” The song is featured on Found in Far Away Places (2015). “Ghost” features vocalist Jeremy McKinnon of A Day To Remember on the clean vocals. Jeremy also wrote the lyrics to the part of the song he was given to sing, having him stick to the song’s theme. “Ghost” focuses on homelessness in its music video, a matter that guitarist Brent Rambler feels needs to be addressed by society.
Photo: Frank Schwichtenberg, CC BY-SA 3.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
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