Monday, April 15, 2024

August Burns Red set Manchester ablaze

Following their co-headline shows with Bury Tomorrow in 2022, August Burns Red returned to Manchester in support of their critically acclaimed masterpiece, Death Below. This was the perfect recipe for a deadly show, supported by one of the strongest lineups of up-and-coming metalcore acts, Dying Wish and Thrown. 

Thrown took to the stage first to deliver their breed of nu metal-inspired metalcore chugging. They opened with the Digitech Whammy-laden rager, ‘Guilt,’ which descended into an overwhelming wall of sound dominated entirely by the low end. Thrown are a deep well of pure fury that made use of every second of their short set to deliver some of the most hostile noise available. 

Thrown may not be the band for you if you’re looking for songs in a conventional sense, Thrown is more about creating violent soundscapes and creating a general feeling of aggression. This is best exemplified on tracks like ‘Parasite’ and ‘Grayout’. The nu metal influence is felt on the hip-hop style groove on ‘Dwell’ which works well with the heavily downtuned bouncy guitar work. 

There’s a lot to appreciate about Thrown’s musicianship and songwriting but given that this is most people’s first experience with Thrown, it’s best to just appreciate them for what they are at face value: a swift yet powerful right hook. 

Once everyone in the audience had picked up their teeth, it was time for Dying Wish. Many people in the audience bought their ticket exclusively for Dying Wish and it’s easy to see why. “We are Dying Wish” says vocalist Emma Boster before the crushing drop C chugs of ‘Symptoms of Survival’ kicked in. 

The energy is permanently sky-high as the band rattles off a series of ultra heavy anthems from their latest album, Symptoms of Survival, an album that will go down as a modern metalcore classic. The two-step-ability (it’s a word, look it up) on tracks like ‘Watch My Promise Die’ is incredible and manages to get an already wound-up audience going completely insane. 

One of the more notable instances was a gentleman managing to get behind the barrier and making his way on stage to stage dive. The Ritz has a 10-foot wide gap and a 6-foot tall stage, however, you handle this jump, you will get hurt. Do not stage dive if there is a barricade with a gap, people can get hurt. 

There’s a great deal of subtle variety, from the two-step hardcore vibes of ‘Prey For Me,’ the Killswitch Engage-esque mid-2000s metalcore vibes of ‘Torn From Your Silhouette’ and even a piano-laden sombre track with ‘Lost In The Fall’. Dying Wish are set to take over the metalcore world and their stage show is just another weapon in their arsenal that makes them a deadly force. 

August Burns Red hit the stage shortly after and they made use of every single bit of the stage as they ripped through ‘Empire’ and its intense complex riffing and bombastic drumming. The vocals were a bit low in the mix but this was rectified later on in the show, as most mix issues usually are. 

August Burns Red are a staple of the genre and they utilise every metalcore trick in the book, jumping from their little platforms on stage, vocalist Jake Luhrs swinging the mic and the double guitar attack. All these things may not have been created by the metalcore scene, but they’ve become huge parts of it regardless and August Burns Red pulls them off beautifully. 

‘Death Below’ was surprisingly underrepresented on the set with just two tracks played, ‘Backfire’ and ‘Revival’. It makes room for more classics like ‘Composure’ and ‘Whitewashed’ but a part of me is still desperate to hear that gargantuan spoken word intro of ‘Premonition’ before it leads into ‘The Cleansing’

Guitarist JB Brubaker and Brent Rambler have incredible chemistry and play riffs that are nigh on impossible for the average guitar player to replicate alone, let alone harmonise with another person. Masterpieces like ‘Animal’ and ‘Bloodletting’ show off JB Brubaker’s bizarre picking hand and guitar focus face as he rips through insanely heavy breakdowns and unbelievable guitar solos while wearing sandals; which is known to make playing guitar even more difficult. 

There were a wealth of slower moments that featured clean guitar work like ‘Beauty in Tragedy’. The spoken word section accompanied by clean guitar work is gorgeous, Jake Luhrs is so emotive and feels so real and heartfelt as he builds in intensity before the distorted guitar work comes back. This was a highlight of the entire show and has become a new favourite of mine amongst the August Burns Red catalogue. 

August Burns Red’s set (before the encore) ended with ‘Marianas Trench,’ a metalcore masterpiece that should be talked about in the same breath as ‘My Curse’ by Killswitch Engage. The melodies are haunting and the clean guitar work is beautiful and that’s before the breakneck riffing and harsh vocals come in. It’s a monolithic track that utilises every heavy-hitting trick that August Burns Red has. 

Even outside of their reputation as the ultimate Christmas metal band, there aren’t many bands with the same longevity as August Burns Red. They have the technical wizardry and stage presence to ensure they maintain their place as legends in one of the biggest genres in metal. 

Lamestream Lydia
Lamestream Lydia
Self-proclaimed journalist, Progressive rock enthusiast and the most American sounding person you're ever likely to meet in the North of England

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