August Burns Red on expansive new Guardians Sessions EP: “There’s only so many metal riffs you can write – so we decided to do something new” – Guitar World
Sure, August Burns Red have long been purveyors of heavier-than-thou breakdowns, throat-shredding vocals and intense, highly technical dual-electric guitar acrobatics. But the Pennsylvania-based quintet is far from your standard metalcore outfit.
Take, as just one example, their recent pandemic activity, beginning with a holiday-season version of Mariah Carey’s All I Want for Christmas is You, which saw the band transform the Yuletide pop classic into a shredding – but still highly musical – instrumental workout, full of racing guitars playing in harmony, splitting into counterpoint and just generally shredding all over the place in an incredibly melodic but also ridiculously acrobatic manner.
And now there’s the new Guardians Sessions EP, which takes two songs – Extinct by Instinct and Paramount – from their impressively heavy 2020 full-length, Guardians, and turns them inside out by repurposing them with layers of acoustic guitars, strings and other atmospherics in what the band dubs “reprise” versions.
The EP also adds in epic covers of System of a Down’s Chop Suey! and the theme to the HBO sci-fi Western Westworld, as well as two unreleased tracks from the Guardians sessions.
As for what inspired August Burns Red to head out on this musical tangent?
“We always want to push the boundaries on our sound,” bassist Dustin Davidson tells Guitar World. “We have this home-base that we always come back