"Leveler" by August Burns Red
Released on June 21, 2011, the album “Leveler”, by August Burns Red, set new standards for the metalcore genre. The lyrics reflect the group’s desire to improve society. Their devotion to God is easily observed in this album, more so than their previous releases: “Thrill Seeker” (2006), “Messengers” (2007), and “Constellations” (2009). In “Leveler” there are literal relations to their faith instead of metaphorical references. The album is definitely their best work to date. Revolver magazine even stated, “They’ve set their own bar even higher on Leveler, and have done so for the whole scene in the process.”
Although their previous albums have used the theme of self-improvement, Leveler takes that concept to a much higher level. Specifically, encouraging listeners to let go of the things holding them back. In the song, “Cutting the Ties”, vocalist, Jake Luhrs, belts out the words, “Break Free”, as the band lays down a heavy breakdown. The title itself explains the simple ideal of the band’s Christian belief of being broken down and renewed by Jesus Christ.
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The musical aspects of the album are phenomenal. Though there is an inspirational message behind the album, the band managed to include the heavy breakdowns and uplifting guitar riffs. The whole album, but also especially the song “Poor Millionaire”, features Matt Greiner’s paramount drumming skills in an intricate drum intro. JB Brubaker and Brent Rambler do an exceptional job on guitar with several detailed solos throughout the album. The uplifting guitar riffs from “Salt & Light” are a fantastic addition to the bands arsenal of musical weapons. Dustin Davidson gives the album a perfect amount of heaviness through his bass. Jake Luhrs has soared to new heights in his vocal range with this album. From the highs in “Empire” and “Carpe Diem” to the lows in “Divisions” he has perfected some new octaves improving the band’s overall sound.
The album begins with the song “Empire”, which in itself is a masterpiece. The track includes enormous breakdowns, speedy guitar riffs, complex drumbeats, and a slow vocals section. The track is a perfect example of the new and improved August Burns Red. This song alone could get a huge crowd moving.
The album ends with the song “Leveler”, the namesake of the album. This song presents melodic lyrics discouraging people’s hypocrisy, betrayal and vengeance. Though these things are mentioned the song presents forgiveness as the theme. The song flaunts the band’s perplexing arsenal of speedy riffs, drum rolls, and deep vocals. The album ends with a positive note that forgiveness and love prevails.
Though the album is based off of religion, any metalcore fan can listen and enjoy its sensational musical elements.