Between the Buried and Me, August Burns Red
Thursday, March 10, doors at 5:30 p.m.
Soul Kitchen, 219 Dauphin St., www.soulkitchenmobile.com
Tickets: $25 advance/$28 day of show/$40 riser seats; available at Soul Kitchen, its website, Mellow Mushroom (both locations) and by calling 1-866-468-7630
For many, metalcore sounds familiar to other forms of metal, even though its fans might argue. As fast as it evolved, the metalcore scene seemed to slide back into the shadows. However, a multitude of bands have survived and flourished, and one is August Burns Red. With a positive message fueled by an onslaught of furious metal riffs, the band continues to gather new fans, critical praise and a Grammy nomination.
Lagniappe spoke with guitarist Brent Rambler about his take on metalcore and the band’s continued success.
Stephen Centanni: I’ve always been a critic of metalcore. I think the only metalcore band I’ve been into was Dr. Acula. One thing about your band is that some of your members have been vocal about their frustrations at being labeled a metalcore band. I’m with you guys.
I’ve heard so many metalcore bands that could be lumped into other metal subgenres. What do you think about the label these days?
Brent Rambler: To me, I just don’t understand why there are so many subgenres. To me, metal is metal. The way I think of it is this: If you were to play August Burns Red or any band that sounds like us, or anywhere close, to people who aren’t familiar with metal at all, then you asked them, “What kind of music is this?” They would say, “Oh! That’s heavy metal!” That’s kind of how I feel about it at this point.
Yes, we are a metal band. When I think most of the bands that are like, “We’re death metal mixed with shoegaze/whatever/indie rock, blah, blah, blah,” I want to say, “No, you’re a metal band. You play loud, fast music, that pretty much makes you a metal band.” That’s how I feel, and it’s weird how they try to break it down to such small, different things. I don’t even know why they do it. I guess it’s because they think they sound different from everybody else. If that’s the case, then they should be like, “We’re a metal band. We just sound different.”
Centanni: Y’all instantly scored brownie points with me with all of that. Finally! While we’re on the subject of metalcore, the scene hasn’t disappeared, but it seems to have condensed. Since you guys are still here and getting credit as a big metal band. How does it feel to be a band that has survived what turned into a trend and found permanence?
Rambler: It feels good. I think it’s because, as far as the metalcore genre goes, we were here from the start. I think people latched onto us because of that. We have a lot of the same fans from when we started as we do now. People seem to have grown up with us, which is great.
Obviously we’re gathering new fans as we go. I think that’s been the big difference for us. A lot of times as a person, you latch onto a certain band, and you stay with them for a long time if you really, truly enjoy their music. I think that’s why we withstood the tests of time. We have so many diehards that latched onto us when they were 16. They followed us and progressed with us.
Centanni: People may not realize this at their first listen, but a lot of your music has a Christian influence. What kind of reaction do you get from people when they discover that this extremely heavy band also has a spiritual side?
Rambler: I think people can be surprised. We’ve never been a band to push that down people’s throats. We came up as five guys who came up in Christian homes. That’s how we were all raised. I think that’s where that label came from. For our guys, it was and is still part of their lives. When you write about life, which is usually what lyrics are about, it slips its way in there. For us, it’s always been more about the positive message in general, whether or not it’s a religious message or however people want to spin it.
I’ve written lyrics that have nothing to do with religion at all, and people will tell me they love how the song talks about faith. I’m like, “Actually, that song has nothing to do with faith.” People read what they want to read and hear what they want to hear. That’s the beauty of the whole thing. You can derive whatever you want from the message.
I think you always get these surprised people who are like, “Wait, you’re not up there on stage singing about the devil and sacrificing goats?” We actually have a positive, nice message for the youth of America.
Centanni: The new album is “Found in Far Away Places.” So I have to ask, what is found in faraway places?
Rambler: All kinds of stuff! For us, I think that title means we’ve been all over the place. We’ve been doing this band since we were all pretty young. I started in this band when I was 18, and now I’m 31. I think that my life and who I am as a person would’ve been vastly different if I would’ve stayed at home for all of my 20s instead of traveling and seeing new things and meeting new people. I’ve changed a lot as a person since then.
For us, our music has stayed heavy. We’re still a metal band, but our music has changed. I think it’s all because of the things we’ve seen and things we’ve heard and all the experiences we’ve been able to have in random places all over the world.
Centanni: The song “Identity” earned you a Grammy nomination. What’s the story behind it?
Rambler: The first original idea about that song was about a family member of my wife’s, who after 19 years decided to finally come out of the closet to his family. He grew up in an Italian Catholic family. So it was a rough decision to try and finally say, “Hey, this is who I really am.” We got an email about it from the family. I kind of thought that must’ve been terrifying at first and so scary. You don’t know what your family is going to say and how they’re going to feel. At the same time, it seemed very freeing like, “Now, I can take a breath and be who I feel I really am.”
We took that story and extrapolated to apply to as many people as possible. We made the song about how you can never truly be happy in life unless you are who you really are and have admitted that, even if it upsets some people around you and upsets your family. People have to accept you for what you really are.
Centanni: What are you guys working on these days?
Rambler: After this tour, we are headed over to Europe to do a bunch of summer festivals … We’ll play some one-off shows over there with Killswitch Engage and Architects, so that’s pretty cool. After that, we’re going to see what happens. We’re planning the rest of the year right now. We’re going to start writing a little, but it’s going to be awhile before people hear new music from us. I think we’re going to take our time with this new record.