I thought I’d mix it up a bit and do something a little different today. Instead of a full album review as I usually do, today I’ll be giving my first impressions on individual songs. It should be short and sweet and just my initial impressions from a first listen. This first edition of First Impressions will be about the two singles from August Burns Red’s forthcoming album Phantom Anthem.
First up is “Invisible Enemy.” The track opens up with an Eastern-sounding string then immediately goes into the trademark August Burns Red palm muted riffs and a crazy lead guitar over it. Vocalist Jake Luhrs sounds much better than he did on their last album Found in Far Away Places. These lead guitars playing throughout the track are absolutely insane. This isn’t drummer Matt Greiner’s best performance but he never fails to impress. This calm little interlude after the breakdown just beat you over the head is nice, and JB Brubaker is still killing it on that lead guitar throughout. What a strong first single.
Next is “The Frost.” A very calm, clean open on this track, then the drums kick in and those great finger tapping lead guitars come in. The riffs on both of these tracks are insane. You almost can’t help yourself from bobbing your head along to them even if the time signatures are a little strange. That’s pretty typical of August Burns Red; they found what they were strong with as a group and stuck with it while throwing in some outside influences to keep it fresh.
After hearing these two tracks I’m very excited for Phantom Anthem. I’ve said for awhile that August Burns Red are the premiere band in the metalcore genre for their ability to not just be technically proficient but also write strong songs and still keep it fresh after 10+ years of doing it, and these two tracks keep up that pattern.