First Fleet Concerts presents
August Burns Red
blessthefall, Defeater, Beartooth
504 E. Locust St,
Des Moines, IA, 50309
Doors 6:00 PM / Show 7:00 PM
This event is all ages
Watch & Listen
August Burns Red
There are a galaxy's worth of metal bands active today. But stare at all of those stars long enough and some lines start to
form; everything starts to take shape. The Constellations begin to bloom.
Just two years ago, Lancaster, PA's AUGUST BURNS RED were, to the naked eye, just another young band jockeying for position in the modern metal scene. Then came Messengers, the band's 2007 full-length release for Solid State Records, and a new frontrunner emerged. Without hype, devoid of any smoke and mirrors, the album debuted at #81 on the Billboard charts, going on to ever-so-quietly sell more than 80,000 copies. Fueled only by the honesty and dynamism of the music, fans multiplied exponentially, driving ABR's MySpace plays well past the 17 million mark and flocking to the band's 2008 headlining tour – which included sold-out venues across the country.
Meanwhile, AUGUST BURNS RED kept their heads down, conquering fans at Warped Tour, on the Take Action tour and at destinations from Dubai to Dallas, and increased their profile through placement of their beloved take on "Carol of the Bells" on the movie trailer for "The Spirit." The band also packed up their Phillies T-shirts and ever-present flip-flops and headed overseas for a tour of 12 countries throughout the UK and Europe. The star was shining bright. "It's extremely encouraging to see your band growing," says guitarist and primary songwriter JB Brubaker with characteristic modesty. "It helps keep you motivated and forces you to set the bar higher so that you can continue to grow and put out the best music you're capable of writing."
To that end – the band returned to the studio this past February to record its hotly anticipated follow-up with lauded producer Jason Suecof (SEVENDUST, ALL THAT REMAINS, TRIVIUM). Fans flocked to the band's in-studio Stickam site by the tens of thousands to observe the band recording the album in real time. The result was Constellations, the third full-length offering from AUGUST BURNS RED, set for release on July 14. A crushing metal tour de force, the album pushes ABR's trademark aural blitz into directions previously unexplored by the band. "We spread our creative wings a bit on Constellations," says JB. "But I can say for sure that this record will definitely be as unrelenting as our previous ones." Accenting the blistering guitar work and syncopated breakdowns that AUGUST BURNS RED fans have grown to love are dynamics previously unexplored by the band. Constellations features more diverse tempos and cohesive song compositions than on previous ABR records, as well as the band's maiden voyage to the land of guitar solos.
"We've managed to push ourselves as musicians, as lyricists and performers," says drummer Matt Greiner. "As a whole, I feel like we're expanding, reinterpreting and refining our sound." That kind of sonic wanderlust has pushed AUGUST BURNS RED since the members first united in 2003 while still in high school. Armed with fearless innovation, uncanny technical ability and an innate near-classical songwriting style, the band started turning heads immediately upon the release of its 2005 Solid State debut, Thrill Seeker. The band's 2007 sleeper hit, Messengers, minted ABR as one of the pacesetters of the next generation of metal bands. The band has already proven to be the type that gets kids to put down Guitar Hero and pick up an actual guitar – look no further than the number of bands on MySpace that list ABR as an influence. With Constellations, that swelling army of fans will make sure that there's a racket from day one. "I am probably as excited for Constellations to come out as our most diehard fans," Brubaker exclaims. "I'd like to think there is something for everyone on the new album."
Already one of the year's most anticipated metal albums, Constellations will make good on the promise of the past two years, and will serve as proof-positive that AUGUST BURNS RED's success is no mere solar flare-up. This supernova's here to stay.
The band grew out of high school practice sessions between guitarist Mike and drummer Matt, filling out the roster with singer Craig and bassist Jared to form blessthefall in 2004. They released a three-track EP in mid-2005 and added guitarist Eric to form their current lineup. Phoenix-area gigs with Greeley Estates and an openly religious orientation got the band local press and a deal with Warner subsidiary, Record Collection. The band then toured with Alesana and Norma Jean across the United States and Canada. Their debut album, His Last Walk, was released on April 10, 2007, to mixed reviews. The band completed the entire 2007 Warped Tour circuit nationwide.
Blessthefall toured with Escape The Fate, LoveHateHero, and Dance Gavin Dance on the Black On Black tour during September and October of 2007.
Blessthefall is apart of From First To Last's fall headlining tour, entitled "RATHER BE SLAYIN' N00BZ" starting November 1st with A Skylit Drive, and Vanna. Then after they'll be going on tour with Silverstein, this tour is their first ever UK and European Tour, with their first UK show at the Colchester Arts Centre on Novemeber 16th 2007.
Labels seem to matter a lot these days; in fact it feels like every week a new subgenere is invented, heralded and, usually, quickly forgotten. Although they were born out of the hardcore scene, for the past five years Boston, Massachusetts' Defeater have challenged the conventions of the genre by crafting music that takes an old-school formula and pushes it in new and ambitious directions without sacrificing an ounce of aggression. Case in point is the band's third full-length Letters Home, the culmination of these efforts and sonic evidence of a band who are at their musical and creative peak.
For Letters Home, Defeater enlisted drummer Joe Longobardi, who proved integral in the writing and execution of the album and also injected the band with palpable energy. "This is definitely the most comfortable I've felt as far as writing music together and a lot of that has to do with Joe," says guitarist Jay Maas—who along with vocalist Derek Archambault, guitarist Jake Woodruff and bassist Mike Poulin—make up Defeater. "Joe is a songwriter straight-up so he understands kick drum should be exactly where it has to be; he's super talented but he's not self-indulgent and he's always evaluating what serves the music overall instead of what's just flashy," he continues.
The writing for Letters Home began when the band returned from Australia last year and Maas—who is a successful recording engineer in his own right that's produced every Defeater album—started compiling dozens of hours of drum tracks which would eventually serve as the foundation for the disc. "I feel like we're all getting better as songwriters and we operate independently as one organism now, so we had a really cohesive understanding of what we wanted to accomplish with this record," explains Maas. "We asked ourselves what we loved about our first couple of records and realized they were a little bit simpler, so we kept that in mind when putting together these songs." From the driving, melodic opener "Bastards" to the relentless attack of "Blood In My Veins" and the carefully controlled chaos of "Rabbit Foot," Letters Home is an album that will inevitably help the band—who will be embarking on the Vans Warped Tour this summer—expanding their fanbase without pandering to their audience.
"We've been writing songs for almost two decades and we like a lot of pop-oriented music so I think as a band Defeater is getting to a point where we can write a record that embodies that while maintaining the honesty that's inherent in the music," Maas explains. "We're still being ourselves, we're just being the best songwriters we can." Lyrically Letters Home sees the band continuing an ongoing narrative about a working-class family living in post World Wold II America, although the story revolves around the patriarch of the family this time around. "I'm not influenced by bands who have done 'concept' albums as much as I'm inspired in a literary sense by writers like J.D. Salinger and Cormac McCarthy," Archambault explains when asked how this concept came together. "I love American Gothic Fiction and I tried to capture the descriptive nature of Salinger in the way that he can make the most boring ten minutes in an apartment the premise for an amazing story because of the way it develops."
Because the album is about a character with a backstory that involves war and destruction, the band knew going into it that Letters Home had to be heavy—and although it has it's unexpected moments of calm before the storm such as the shimmering guitar intro to "No Saviour," for the most part the album is an exercise in catharsis that's mirrored in Maas' production. "I built a new studio that's professionally designed and acoustically treated, so we didn't have to fight any sonic limitations," he explains. "It really made sense to make this a heavier record and by working with Defeater and producing other bands, I was able to take everything I've learned and apply it here in a way that made sense."
Admittedly Letters Home has its share of dark moments (try not getting goosebumps when Archambault sings, "I gave away my faith when I gave my brother a coffin,") but despite the bleak lyrical content there's an overarching theme of hopefulness that permeates the album as well as the band's current outlook as well. "I would say unanimously we're more proud of this album than anything we've ever done so I feel like regardless of how it's received, we feel like 'mission accomplished.'" Maas adds, "At the end of the day it's the five of us playing music together and that's why we got into hardcore in the first place, because there are no rules." Letters Home is much more than a hardcore record, it's a concept album that explores the concepts of loss, family and love in a way that transcends genres and the chances that Defeater take on the album both musically and lyrically will undoubtedly inspire bands who play various styles of music on a visceral and artistic level. But enough talk, Letters Home, was meant to be listened to, so cue up "Bastards" and let the Defeater take you somewhere new yet familiar, where the only limitation is their collective imagination
We're really loud, and like to break stuff.
Fronted by Caleb Shomo (formerly of Attack Attack!) and recently signed to Red Bull Records.
It's heavy. You'll like it.