August Burns Red are very proud of their music and often play a large variety of their discography live. As the band progressed through the years they have kept songs from different albums on their setlists. Luckily the band knows what the crowd wants to hear and plays accordingly. In recent years the band have remained playing songs such as Poor Millionaire, Internal Cannon, Empire and some others. With the 10th anniversary re-recording of Leveler we decided to review the already incredible August Burns Red record. We also get to see how the band’s modern touch has affected it after all theses years.
X is that perfect intro into the album that you hope for when a band releases a new album. It not only slowly leads into a classic ABR instrumental but pulls you in ready for whatever comes next. The song is so perfectly fit to this album’s overall sound that you could play it immediately before any song. I didn’t need a reason to be so in love with this re-recorded album before even getting into new tracks. Like mo but I’m happy the band added this extra touch to the album.
The original hype track to Leveler, before X became the intro for this re-recorded 10th anniversary edition of Leveler. Still an anthem in its own way, Empire stays very true to the original but with a crisper sound. My only disappointment with this song is I feel like the clean feel to this track takes from the original.
Immediately full force metal within one second, Internal Cannon still felt as metal as it did originally. This song feels much more whole than the original song. This rendition of Internal Cannon featured Matthew Heafy of Trivium and while I don’t relate the two bands whatsoever. When doing this August Burns Red review, this was the song I was most excited for and I wasn’t disappointed.
Divisions is filled with aggressive ABR elements that they’ve shown throughout every album they’ve released but the vocals stand out. The vocal style is very similar to the really heavy deep screams that the band had on Messengers and Constellations. While this album was released after those, it still didn’t hit as hard upon first release compared to the original. I’m more of a fan of this album now than I was, outside of Internal Cannon and Empire.
Cutting The Ties
Cutting The Ties is a fast, brutal August Burns Red song that I honestly forget about more often than I wish I did but Leveler was never one of my favorite albums from the band. The song gets a little slower as it near its end but that’s never the end of an August Burns Red song with the band always coming back hitting harder than they did earlier in the song. August Burns Red loves to take advantage of any break in the song to lead to listener into thinking the song is nearing its end before it swings again.
Pangaea is one of 3 songs on the album that feature guest vocals, but for Pangaea August Burns Red recruited Periphery guitarist Misha Mansoor. This song automatically has a standout guitar throughout its entirely holding down nothing but riffs from beginning to end. While that may be classic August Burns Red, this re-recording with Mansoor added that little extra touch that truly pushed the song to new boundaries.
Carpe Diem starts off with a eased in guitar that remains until about one minute in when the the track explodes and becomes an instant August Burns Red classic. As the song progresses it becomes a pretty dominant instrumental type of track but vocals eventually come back bringing this song to true August Burns Red fashion.
40 Nights starts off quick with rapid but hard hitting drums, but that’s to be expected with any August Burns Red song or album that they will release. While most of the album feels sped up compared to the original, I’d have to say that 40 Nights feels different in a really interesting way. It doesn’t necessarily feel slower but more in depth.
Salt & Light
Salt & Light feels an awful lot like Rescue & Restore but this album always kind of felt like the baby of Rescue & Restore so it’s perfectly fitting for this re-recording to mark a part of the band’s current sound. This is another track on the Leveler re-recordings for the 10th anniversary that feels much faster now.
Poor Millionaire features Ryan Kirby of Fit For A King with some vocals for the track and being that Fit For A King are supporting August Burns Red on their 10th anniversary tour for Leveler so hopefully we can hear this song live. I truly appreciate the band changing this fan-favorite from Leveler into an even larger fan-favorite with a favored vocalist from the scene. Poor Millionaire feels very clean compared to it’s original but the nostalgia of the original certainly strengthens this re-recording.
Another instrumental from the band but unlike X, this song was included on the original Leveler album, this song is much slower than X as well. A much shorter song that’s more acoustic than it is full band, especially compared to X that features a full arrangement of the band laying down a modern vibe to an older album and song. This song is more of an interlude or a track between tracks type of song.
Boys of Fall
Boys of Fall takes me back to the original Leveler album more than any other song among the re-recordings of Leveler for some reason. It could be because this song just embodies the general sound that August Burns Red had before Rescue & Restore but also showed the band’s start to a departure from that sound. The combination of the two styles is clear here.
Title track, Leveler, feels so much deeper and angier than the original but still has that clean feel this album has brought us with each track. The song, if none of the above songs did, shows that the band can keep up with their selves even after releasing so much music between the original release of Leveler and the 10th anniversary edition. The perfect outro to the album, August Burns Red stays true to themselves and re-recorded another already incredible album and gave it a modern feel.
Overall, I’d have to say that writing this August Burns Red 10th anniversary Leveler review made me realize how great this album has always been and although it didn’t need the modern touch I love these re-recorded albums and will always be eager for more. If you enjoy the original album or wish to get a physical copy of the 10th anniversary edition of Leveler, you can find merch here.