Tag Archives: Metalcore

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.

The Word Alive – Monomania

By Mikey Jablonski – @mikey.photograph

Release Date: February 21, 2020

Genre: Post-Hardcore, Metalcore, Alternative Metal

Label: Fearless Records


The Word Alive, a metalcore/post-hardcore band based out of Phoenix, Arizona has released their anticipated sixth studio record, MONOMANIA. The band continues to try and make something different with each record, which they have done since their 2014 record, Real and they kept that promise still with, MONOMANIA. A major factor for this record is they went with a different producer than Matt Good, who produced The Word Alive’s last two records, Dark Matter and Violent Noise. This time around they went with Erik Ron who has previously produced albums with Godsmack, Dance Gavin Dance, and nothing,nowhere, to name a few. This album still gives the metal vibe that you know from the band with Telle’s amazing vocal range, catchy guitar riffs, and hard drum beats.

The album starts with the title track, “MONOMANIA,” giving that new Word Alive feel to the music. With the catchy chorus, hard guitar riffs as well as Telle’s hard scream at the end, it was a beautiful first track to the album. “NO WAY OUT” starts with a different vocal range from Telle than you’re used to, if you’ve followed the band for quite some time you’ll notice it easier. It does catch you off guard for sure, but one thing that I believe should be approved upon is how much they went through the chorus in the song, as much as they did.

“SEARCHING FOR GLORY” did give the same vibe as, “NO WAY OUT,” but didn’t give that much of a repetitiveness. What I loved a lot about this track was the acoustic guitar and Telle’s vocals near the end of the track giving the track what it needed to be filled. “ANOTHER YEAR IN THE SHADOWS” is that song you hear on most records that is the ‘arena rock’ type song, but for myself, I always love those type of songs and Telle used his entire vocal range on this track. “GREATEST ALMOST” is a hard punch song with Telle’s vocal range and high tone guitar riffs, but if you’re a fan of, Dark Matter, you will love the tracks, “THANK YOU,” “K.F.” and “NUMB LOVE (MISERY II).”

“THANK YOU” has some guitar riffs that you hear from hit songs from the Dark Matter record, but what ties the song together is Telle’s vocal projection into his screams. As for “NUMB LOVE (MISERY II),” I was very skeptical for the track as I loved the song, “Misery,” a non-album single from 2017. Trying to make a sequel to a track can go great or terrible. I think The Word Alive made a great track as that intro to, “NUMB LOVE (MISERY II).” It gave me goosebumps with that hard-hitting chorus and very great guitar riffs within the track. I believe, “NUMB LOVE (MISERY II),” could’ve been its own track rather than a sequel to, “Misery.”

“K.F” is a very enjoyable track in my mind from the band. Amazing screams and more great guitar riffs. “BURNING YOUR WORLD DOWN” and the records title track, “MONOMANIA” tie this whole record together. With some of the harder guitar riffs on the record as well with Telle’s passion in his vocals, with another catchy chorus, it makes them great tracks. “COMFORT & CHAOS” is a very different song on the whole record for sure. That outro tied that song together in my mind with Telle’s clean vocals and that acoustic guitar. “I’M SORRY YOU’RE SORRY NOW” sounds like a b-side to something off, Violent Noise. I prefer something new or something with more “grab” than something that sounds like it was made for a previous release.

Finally, it all comes down to the final track, “DEATH IS ONLY THE END IF YOU ASSUME THE STORY IS ABOUT YOU.” A long song title for sure, but they played around with the soft tones of the band and with the fast hard type of song, along with a very punchy bass. “DEATH IS ONLY THE END IF YOU ASSUME THE STORY IS ABOUT YOU” goes full metal closer to the end of the track to deliver one final blow to end it off right.

The Word Alive put together another good piece of work with, MONOMANIA, for fans that thought that the, Violent Noise record wasn’t heavy enough, this record is for you. As this record was bouncing all over the place between metalcore, post-hardcore, and alternative metal. I think for the next record they have to pick one side of their sound, either go full on heavy, or show their lighter side.

Kublai Khan and Orthodox

By Samuel Stevens

Kublai Khan, Orthodox, Murder Capital, and Locked In

September 19, 2019

Bulldog Event Center

Locked In
Locked In. Photos by Samuel Stevens Photography.
Murder Capital
Murder Capital. Photos by Samuel Stevens Photography.
Orthodox. Photos by Samuel Stevens Photography.
Kublai Khan
Kublai Khan. Photos by Samuel Stevens Photography.

With Roots Above… 10th AnniversByary Tour – Winnipeg

By Samuel Stevens

With Winter and more snow on its way in the coming days, The Devil Wears Prada’s Winnipeg fans came to take their minds off the weather and stay indoors as the band brought the first leg of their With Roots Above and Branches Below 10th Anniversary Tour through The Garrick theatre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The night also featured the Texan Metalcore band Fit for a King as well as the Noise Punk band ’68, from Atlanta, Georgia.

Josh Scogin
’68 vocalist & guitarist, Josh Scogin. Photo by Samuel Stevens Photography.

Opening up the night was the Noise Punk duo, ’68. This marks the band’s first time in front of a Winnipeg audience. Although guitarist and vocalist, Josh Scogin has been to Winnipeg multiple times before, performing with his former band, The Chariot. ’68 was formed in late 2013 at the heels of the breakup of The Chariot. Performing a highly energetic six song set featuring songs off both the band’s albums, In Humor and Sadness and Two Parts Viper.

The band performed such songs as “Track 3 G”, “Eventually We All Win”, and “Life Has Its Design” to name a few. One of the biggest takeaways I had from the entire performance by ’68 was how the set ended. While a guitar loop played over the PA system, band member Josh Scogin began to disassemble drummer Nikko Yamada’s drum kit piece by piece. Josh disassembled the kit starting with the floor tom, preceded by the hi-hat, the ride/crash cymbal, and last, but not least, the bass drum. Leaving the snare drum to finish the show. Not knowing much about this band walking into the show besides that the band features Josh Scogin from The Chariot, I was completely surprised by these two guys. They made a fan of me and it was clear they made many in the audience into fans as well. It was safe to say that ’68 were welcomed with a warm reception by the Winnipeg crowd inside The Garrick. The band’s set certainly left the crowd warmed up for the next act to brace the stage.

Fit for a King guitarist. Photo by Samuel Stevens Photography.

The next act to hit the stage was the Metalcore band, Fit for a King. Fit for a King are currently on the road in support of their fifth brand new studio album, Dark Skies. This was also the first time that Fit for a King have been to Winnipeg, as vocalist, Ryan Kirby said on stage. Although it may have been their first time to the city, Fit for a King performed songs off their two most recent albums, Deathgrip and Dark Skies. Performing a nine song set featuring a few songs like, “The Price of Agony”, “Deathgrip”, “Dead Memory”, and “Tower of Pain”. Just like ’68, it was more than clear by the reaction of the high intensity crowd that Fit for a King received a warm reception during their performance and Fit for a King continued to fire up the audience for The Devil Wears Prada.

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The Devil Wears Prada Vocalist/Guitarist, Jeremy DePoyster. Photo by Samuel Stevens Photography.

Now following both ’68 and Fit for a King, it was time for the headlining performance by the Dayton, Ohio Metalcore band, The Devil Wears Prada. With Roots Above and Branches Below has been labelled as one of the best albums released by The Devil Wears Prada by many fans. The With Roots Above and Branches Below 10th Anniversary tour date in Winnipeg marks the first time The Devil Wears Prada have been back to the city in five years. The Devil Wears Prada were last in the city on November 12th 2013 with support by the bands The Ghost Inside, Texas In July, and Volumes.

The Devil Wears Prada performed a massive seventeen song set which saw the band split their set up in two parts, the first portion of which contained five songs from various, yet more recent albums. Opening up the set with a cover of Julien Baker’s, “Sour Breath”, followed up by a few songs off the band’s albums, Dead Throne, Space EP, and Transit Blues. The band then proceeded to leave the stage for a brief moment before returning to the stage to begin the portion of the set where The Devil Wears Prada plays their album, With Roots Above and Branches Below in its entirety. There are many fan favourites on With Roots Above and Branches Below such as, “Dez Moines”, “Assistant to the Regional Manager”, “Big Wiggly Style”, “Danger: Wildman”, and “Wapakalypse”, all of which  were performed during the night. The encore only featured one song, “Mammoth” off of The Devil Wears Prada album, Dead Throne.

Overall, all three of the bands on the bill, The Devil Wears Prada, Fit for a King, and ’68, destroyed The Garrick’s stage. The show drew a pretty remarkable crowd at The Garrick with a near sell out. It’s unquestionable that the three acts will be back soon to play in front of a Winnipeg audience once again. Hopefully it doesn’t take The Devil Wears Prada another five years to make it to these parts of the globe. I additionally hope Fit for a King will make their way back to the city again very soon after embracing our cold weather for the first time. Lastly, I wish the same with ’68 and hope to see them back to the city again to destroy another stage.

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The Devil Wears Prada vocalist, Mike Hranica. Photo by Samuel Stevens Photography.