• Adam Ruane

August Burns Red - Phantom Sessions - Review

Lancaster metalcore quintet, August Burns Red, returns this month with their latest addition to their discography, Phantom Sessions

The five track EP releasing via Fearless Records includes the bands cooperation with Nerdist on The Legend Of Zelda theme that has recently surfaced and took social media by storm as the metal cover went viral. With plans to take the cover on tour and share their nostalgic moments with fans, bassist Dustin Davidson tells about the cover, “I wanted to do a mash-up of not only the original theme, but other pieces from the game as well, and since the dungeon theme flirts with the diminished scale, it just made sense to put it into a metal cover.” 

The theme of toying with scales sits as a constant through the EP, with ‘Midnight’ playfully exploring the concept layered above blast beats and a combative riff line. With the melodic tones leading the song along in linear fashion, ‘Midnight’ is true anthem to kick start off Phantom Sessions discussing individuality toned with unity as they incorporate a clever mix-up of harmonized vocals. 

Impressively, the higher scales take the spotlight without lightening the tumultuous tones of a dropped tuning, keeping a heavy bass line and weighted riff.

‘Laniakea’ begins very psychedelic in its intro, concentrating upon a guitar that speaks in notes and setting the tone for the song. It moves slowly into theatrics, opening into an epic and ambient soundtrack, combining an almost 8-bit style of guitar playing to move the song along. The experimental development of ‘Laniakea’ places the bands creativity and talent for an agrande-metalcore mash-up. 

It’s the shortest track on the EP, but the most powerful instrumentally, and as a midway point, opens the EP to span into different directions, in which next track, ‘Coordinates’ takes full advantage of. 

With a wild west-esque tone fitting of that of a Red Dead Redemption opening soundtrack, ‘Coordinates’ uses the ambience of an acoustic guitar to move through an ambient soundtrack, fluctuating tones and tempo instrumentally. It’s the longest track on the album, but it’s multiple undertones evoking different emotions moves the track along in speed that makes it feel like it’s over just that little too soon. It displays the talent and exploration of the fret board wonderfully, placing the guitar as easily the best feature of this album. 

August Burns Red has proven themselves more than the metalcore band that came to be in our libraries following their enter release and album that won our hearts over, showcasing their talents for exquisite ambient writing alongside melodic and anthem-worthy song writing. 

The EP closes with a midi track nostalgic of SNES games in the modern era, a track suitable for an upcoming Metroid or Megaman game.

The digital instrumental ties the concept of reminiscence together, reflecting upon the moment of inspiration that bassist Dustin Davidson and his brother experienced in their younger years. “[the] first game I remember playing and really enjoying was A Link To The Past on SNES. Our love for the game only grew over the years and I’ll never forget the three of us [brother and mother] watching and playing Ocarina of Time together on N64.”  

Phantom Sessions is due for release on the 8th via Fearless Records, and will be available across all streaming services. August Burns Red are also currently touring select dates across the US and Canada until early March, with plans to headline The Dangerous Tour presented by Sound Rink alongside Fit For A King, Miss May I and Crystal Lake.  

- Jess Morgan, Riff Media.

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