‘Tis the season for a great many things. Mother Nature’s menopausal symptoms and the excessive related Facebook posts, year-end concert runs, and overwhelming seasonal depression. Notice how I didn’t mention anything Christmas or holiday related? Gee, will you look at that. Let’s take a look at where I’m going with this while I regale you with my night at the August Burns Red performance this past Sunday, the 29th of November, at Metropolis.
A brisk and chipper night it was as Ocala, FL’s Metalcore five-piece, Wage War broke the ice. Make no mistake, break the ice these cats did, but, sadly, with nothing short of cookie-cutter, heavy-duty metalcore. Chugging for the fencing, but missing out on some well-needed riffage. Some cute little clean chorus, no actual voices singing them half the time, and yeah, my deaf ears noticed that shit. What they did, being ‘big boy pants’ style metalcore band, they did well, but there is a loooooot of room for improvement.
Following up was damn near the exact opposite. Hailing from Plano, TX, Polyphia gave me immediate wood. There I was, wondering where the fuckin’ vocals are, like an absolute idiot. This is, of course, what happens when you don’t do your homework on a band; bright side of it was the unexpected and rapturous orgasm when they fuck your world. Funky, groovy, spastic, melodic, and most importantly, sexual as fuck. I’ve endured my fair share of instrumental eargasms, but I can most definitely tell you that this was the most sensual and utterly pleasing of them to date. Fuck Cialis, fuck Viagra; get yourself some Polyphia, and you’ll be as moist as a waterfall.
This next act was one I’ve been waiting to spew my ill placed thoughts all over for a dog’s age now. Stick to your Guns is a mountain of melodic oriented Hardcore hailing primarily from Orange Country, CA (now from all over the bloody place, ie, Frontman, Jesse Barnett’s relocation to the great white north of Montreal, QC). All that locational crap aside, this was a powerhouse set that never ceased to amaze. STYG is never an act that lets you down, and there’s never a time where Jesse’s banter will get old. This is the kind of set that will leave you like an inspired Pavlov’s dog chasing a hundred other dog’s tails (Get it, because it makes a circle pit. I’m fucking funny, fuck you). As per usual, the set cracked open with the intro track from their previous release, Diamonds, “Against them all,” and just continued to relentlessly set motion to your neck. The only complaint was regarding sound, as the guitars were rather faint during the brief ordeal.
If you didn’t know about this bill in advance, then you fucked up, as this was EASILY the most stacked metal/hardcore show of late 2015 (if not entirely). How do you already top what’s hit the stage? By throwing Buffalo, NY’s Every Time I Die into the mix. Carnage did not begin to describe the thick crowd when the eerie singular piano note of “Moor” hit the waves. In true ETID fashion, it only got uglier from there. Again, a missing link from the sound mix plagued the stage, and even a sloppier sense of musicianship lingered then typically displayed by the boys. This, however, has never stopped them from wreaking havoc, and utter bangers like “Decayin’ with the Boys,” and “Bored Stiff” didn’t exactly make it very difficult either.
And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for, in the strobe light corner, weighing in at a combined weight of five pairs of your sisters jeans and some really fucking weird dance moves, From Lancaster, PA, August Burns Red!!! My biggest concern of this entire piece had been redundancy, as I’ve already reviewed these cats before. Lucky for me, ABR played an entirely different set, IN EVERY CONCEIVABLE WAY, from the last time I saw them. The Lancaster lads are quite obviously still a powerhouse group, and for the first time in three sets, it seemed the sound issues had finally broken. My only qualms stand with song choice, and frontman, Jake Luhrs. Addressing Jakie boy first; over that last several years and album runs, this was the first time that I saw Jake lazy out on what is typically the most monumental part of his set. Not only was “Back Burner” played unusually early, Master Luhrs seemingly changed game plans and, instead of ripping a hole in the roof with his worldly lungs’ vocal range, he went the cop-out route of effects and engineering oddities. Call me a baby, I know from personal experience what this cat can do and it bummed me out to the highest degree.
Now looking at the set list itself, I’m once again a victim of my own demise for not listening to their latest release, Found in Far Away Places (Grammy nominated by the way) which of course was the predominance of this song choice. It’s all fine and dandy to wanna promote a new album, I get that, but shunning your original work (specifically the classics from Thrill Seeker) is something that has never sat with me. ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU’RE ROCKING FUCKING CHRISTMAS COVERS INSTEAD. Of course, they put on an overall phenomenal performance. August Burns Red is a symphony of chills and thrills, and very few acts can stand up to the barrage of Progressive Metalcore that they sling, and their more prominent bangers did most definitely come out to play in the form of tunes like “Spirit Breaker,” and the classic “Composure.” I’m just being a picky bitch who sees a waste of time in Christmas covers.
Wanna fight about it?
Written by Jason Greenberg
*edited by Danielle Kenedy