August Burns Red - Guardians Sessions [EP]

This sextet of tracks blends new, old and borrowed ideas from August Burns Red; Standing in the Storm and Icarus are B-sides from the 2020 Guardians album, placed in front of 2 covers (System of a Down's Chop Suey! and the Westworld theme) and 2 reimagined versions of tracks from that album.

The B-sides are exactly what would be expected from the band - heavy, riff-laden and utterly devastating. Standing in the Storm opens the record with a huge, headbang fuelled chug with a really tight mix that pulls all the elements together nicely. Icarus follows with some fantastic lead guitar work that brings huge depth laden over the thick rhythm section below.

The covers are where it gets a little bit risky and, unfortunately, bordering on the lacklustre. This is by no fault of the performance however, and any first-time listeners to their Chop Suey! covers may fall in love. To many of a similar school of thought, releasing a cover of a song this iconic is sacrilege and is born to fall at the feet of the original. A bit of fun, but no other version could scratch the itch. That being said, Westworld goes much the same as the band's past covers including the Legend of Zelda theme. Layering leads across a huge expanse of perfectly arranged instrumental makes a fantastic interpretation of an iconic piece.

Closing up the record are the two reinvented versions, which are both a really nice touch. Across both, there are elements of acoustic version as expected, but then comes the flamenco before breaking into post-rock and back again. It's a whistlestop tour through a lot of ideas, but it brings a fresh take to the ideas known to fans and is sure to provide some neatly-filled changes at shows.

Overall, a really nice blend of ideas brought together into a record that shows the diversity of the band. By no means are August Burns Red a band to stagnate, and this record is sure to signify things to come.


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