Tag Archives: Metal

August Burns Red – Guardians

By Samuel Stevens

Release Date: April 3, 2020

Genre: Metalcore, Metal

Label: Fearless Records

The Pennsylvania metalcore quintet, August Burns Red, return with their impressive, continuously catchy and melodic ninth studio album, Guardians. The band has been going strong for the last seventeen years with a majority of original members still intact and after the success of their previous album, Phantom Anthem, that garnered two Grammy Award nominations, the band continues to deliver their melodic metalcore stylings for their ever growing dedicated fan base on these eleven tracks that is now known as, Guardians.

August Burns Red took a different approach to the writing and recording of Guardians as the band hunkered down in the studio during periods throughout 2019 to write and record the album in a few parts, rather than in one singular cluster, resulting in the most time they’ve taken to complete an album. Purposely trying to create their best work they could possibly write. August Burns Red wrote and recorded the album in York, Pennsylvania at Think Loud Studios with their longtime producers, Carson Slovak and Grant McFarland.

“After the first session, we had months to think about what we might want to change. We never had this much time and liberty for production. It enabled everyone to be more critical and think about putting an individual stamp on the songs. Think Loud, was also the nicest facility we’ve ever tracked in. We had tons of room to work and be creative. We’re super proud of the final product. Dustin and I collaborated more than we have in the past as well. Typically, one person will write a whole song and send it to the band. We all got to contribute here,” says lead guitarist, JB Brubaker.

Throughout the entirety of Guardians, it features the loose underlying theme of being there for another person who’s reaching out for help. A concept that drummer, Matt Greiner, wanted to write about on one or more tracks on the album. This theme was also an idea that recurred for the members of August Burns Red as they put the album together as a whole over the various stints within the studio throughout the last year.

“Bones,” which is the albums second track and also coincidentally the second single off Guardians starts slow at first before becoming a fast, catchy, yet melodic track that follows the subject matter of how certain acceptable (and unacceptable) traits of a person are etched within a human beings soul or bones. “It’s in our bones to be benevolent / It’s in our souls to be of service / It’s in our bones to be benevolent / It’s in our souls.”

“Defender” is the fourth track on Guardians as well as the albums lead single. The track was one of the first tracks written for, Guardians. It’s the main track of the album that really hits the hammer to the nail on the loose underlying theme previously mentioned, of somebody being there for another person who’s reaching out for help. “I need a defender / A voice that shakes to calm the quake / I need a defender who bends and breaks in my place.”

“Lyrically, I wanted to write about being able to reach out to someone. We all need a person who can take the punches for us when we need them to. We need a defender who bends, so we don’t break. The music matched perfectly.” Says drummer, Matt Greiner.

“Lighthouse” is another catchy tune on the eleven track effort that touches on the topic of helping others who need a helping hand and how one can be a good Samaritan for a person in need; “Take another look around / There is so much lost to be found / People everywhere are hurting, even though they’re counted out / There is so much lost to be found.”

A couple stand out tracks worth mentioning are “Bloodletter,” which notably is the album’s heaviest track, if not one of August Burns Red’s heaviest tracks to date. As well, Guardians comes to it’s culmination with the track “Three Fountains.” The track is a near six and a half minute epic with the most excellent feel to end off, Guardians on a high note.

While the band did take a different approach than previous albums on Guardians, it proved effective as August Burns Red hit it out of the park with what is the perfect collection of music for the bands fans and metal fans alike. While it draws the same vibe from all their previous albums, Guardians maintains constant catchy choruses throughout, display a slightly slower side of the band at times, and certainly keeps the high octane energy from beginning to end.

“We just want the fans who have been supporting us year in and year out to feel like we put out the best possible record we could make. I hope they sit down and smile when they listen to it—and want to see it [performed] live.” Concludes guitarist, Brent Rambler.

North American Crusade 2020: Black Label Society, Obituary, & Lord Dying

By Samuel Stevens

North American Crusade 2020 featuring, Black Label Society, Obituary, & Lord Dying

March 10, 2020

Burton Cummings Theatre

Lord Dying - Erik Olson
Lord Dying. Photos by Samuel Stevens Photography.
Obituary - John Tardy
Obituary. Photos by Samuel Stevens Photography.
Black Label Society - Jeff Fabb
Black Label Society. Photos by Samuel Stevens Photography.

Q&A With Saint Asonia Front Man, Adam Gontier

By Kyle Erickson & Samuel Stevens

PR BROWN / UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP

So, you guys [Saint Asonia] just released Flawed Design, which is awesome. You also just announced you’re doing the headlining Ontario shows with The Standstills before going out on tour later this year. What made you choose The Standstills?

They’re friends of ours. We’ve played a few shows with them in the past. Last year I did a Canadian Music Week thing at The Horseshoe in Toronto and they were a part of that. They’re just a great band. They’re super great people and we get along with them really well. When we were booking these shows their name came up and it was pretty easy and great to have them open up these shows, for sure.

You guys just wanted to start off at home before going out to the U.S. I assume?

Yeah, that’s right. I mean we were originally trying to do something a little bit bigger in Canada, at least in Ontario to do a few more shows sort of starting up here, but yeah we have the three shows in Toronto, Ottawa, and Peterborough. We stopped it there and it seemed to be a good few shows to get started, get our feet wet because we haven’t really been out for awhile. It made sense to do all that at home too, to keep it a little bit easier with friends and crew, yeah.

In May you’re going out with Black Stone Cherry and Alterbridge. That should be a really kick ass tour.

Yeah, that’s going to be great, man. We are really looking forward to that. Alterbridge is awesome, Black Stone is awesome as well. I mean, we’ve done a lot of tours with them. I’ve done a lot of tours with them in the past. Yeah, really, really good bands. It’s going to be a great tour. We’re stoked for that.

Apart from the new album, you guys also have some new members. How does it feel finally having Cale in the same band?

It feels great man. I mean it’s been along time coming. You know we grew up together and we played music together growing up. Our plan was always to be in a band together or something like that. It just made sense, you know. At the same time our original bass player, Corey, started working with Seether full time, so it just kinda made sense. I asked Cale if he wanted to be a part of it. Yeah, it was a no brainer all away around, you know, and made really good sense. It feels great now that we’re actually doing it. It’s been a great time so far and looking forward to touring together, for sure.

Did you guys get Cody through Cale, or how did that work out?

Yeah, I mean Cody plays drums in Art of Dying, you know. Cody and him are band mates in that band and aside from that we’ve been really good friends with Cody, he’s from our hometown of Norwood in Peterborough. We’ve known him for years and years and Art of Dying isn’t, at this point, doing all that much. All the guys are doing separate things. So yeah, with Sal from Staind being our drummer, there were some conflicting tour dates and that sort of thing. It just made sense for us to get Cody to jump in full time because Sal has a lot on his plate.

Cody hasn’t done any live shows with Saint Asonia yet, correct?

That’s right, yeah. We did do an acoustic thing in Massachusetts in Foxborough a couple months ago, but that’s just about it.

So it will be awesome getting you out on the road with you guys then.

Yeah, oh yeah, for sure.

Is there a song off Flawed Design that you’re looking forward to playing live?

I mean we’re kinda working our set out right now for these Ontario shows. They’re headlining sets so they’re pretty long. We’ve been trying to figure out what songs from the new record we want to play. I mean one song we’re all excited to play live eventually is “Ghost.” A lot of us feel like it’s our favourite one to play. Once we get some sort of steady, long headlining sets, we’ll probably put “Ghost” in there.

Ghost” is one of my favourites off the album. You wrote with Dustin Bates from Starset on that one, right?

For sure! Yeah, Dustin and Keith Wallen from Breaking Benjamin.

Oh, Keith wrote on “Ghost” as well?

That’s right, yeah. He wrote on “Ghost” as well as on “Beast.”

I think Keith Wallen is one of the underrated songwriters out there, so I’m glad he was able to be featured on Flawed Design. How did that collaboration come about?

You know, same type of deal. We know Keith really well because of Breaking Benjamin and that sort of thing. When we were putting songs together for this record, writing songs, we wanted to branch out and co-write with different guys and there was just a handful of guys names that came up and Keith was one of them. A lot of the time you get messages from different guys saying “Hey, it would be great to sit down and write some tunes together,” and it’s not all the time you are able to follow up on that. I think I got a message from Keith to co-write, that was pretty much it when we started writing the record. We flew out to L.A. where he was and sat down in the studio and wrote a couple of tunes.

I’m really glad that collaboration worked out. “Ghost” and “This August Day” are probably my two favourite songs off the album.

Thanks man. Yeah, “This August Day” is a really fun one to play too. It’s a bit of a different vibe for it and that’s what we were trying to basically accomplish, you know by writing with others like Dustin.

Was there anybody you wanted to work with that maybe the timing didn’t work out or just really didn’t end up coming of it?

You know what, not really. I mean there was a handful of guys I really wanted to write with and fortunately I was lucky enough that I was able to write with them. I sat down and wrote a song with Raine Maida from Our Lady Peace and I’ve always been a big Our Lady Peace fan. So that was really cool and you know, it was really fortunate to be able to co-write with guys like that and be able to reach out and make something happen. So we wrote a song, it’s actually not on this record, but we’ll end up using it for something down the road.

I’m really looking forward to hearing that song with Raine. “The Hunted” with Sully Erna of Godsmack had quite awhile to get released, so I’m sure this one will be great as well.

Yeah, that was awesome. I mean that song has been around for a long time and we kinda tweaked it, that sorta thing with a new producer. Yeah, really cool to have Sully on the album.

After your done your tour with Alterbridge and Black Stone Cherry, Staind is going to be on tour in the Summer with Disturbed. Should we expect a big Saint Asonia tour in the fall?

The plan is to go out, actually we’re announcing a big tour tomorrow [March 3, 2020], so yeah we’re pretty close to announcing that and that’s gonna put us out for July, August, and September as well for three months. Yeah, that’s going to be great. Staind is going to be out with Disturbed, that’s right. So I think when Mike goes out with Staind we will have somebody basically fill in for him. We’ve always pretty much assumed at some point he was going to go back out. Mike and I have had lots of talks about that. It’s great to see him going back out and I’m glad he’s doing that kinda thing, but he’s always a part of this band, for sure.

There’s a couple of festivals coming up this Summer like Sonic Temple and Rock Fest in Cadot. Would Mike be doing double duty on those sets or would you still perform with a touring guitarist?

I think we will have our other guy filling in for him, but at the same time we have talked about having Mike come up to do a couple here and there. Playing on the same day, you know [Laughs], it will be a little bit tough for him. Those days are going to be long as he puts a lot into that set, but yeah, he will get up with us, for sure.

It was a real pleasure talking to you Adam! I look forward to seeing you guys on tour later this Summer and I hope you have a great year!

Right on, thanks man! I appreciate it! Take care!

EXCLUSIVE: Stream Ty Shore’s New Heavy Single, Riot

The song, “Riot” is about being so fed up about the life you’re living because you can’t find that happiness you’re searching for while people demand and expect so much from you. Something that myself and featuring artist, Spiff (Ethan Matthews) can very much relate to.

When I first wrote, “Riot” I thought about the people who try to silence the truth. I never want to put out a fake image of myself. Although I’m super positive I still got this rage inside of me so, sometimes after pretending everything is okay for so long, you just hit your breaking point and just gotta say “fuck that shit, let’s start a riot.”

This is my first time testing out this genre and I’ve always been a huge fan of Limp Bizkit, so I’ve always wanted to make something that could give off those late 1990’s to early 2000’s rap rock/nu metal vibes. I could definitely see myself making more of this style of music in the future, but only if the timing is right.