The top four tracks from the week of July 26-Aug 1.

Invisible Enemy – August Burns Red

August Burns Red come back with a vengeance for their seventh full length album in Phantom Anthem. This lead single kicks off with an oriental inspired chord, leading right into a heavy breakdown, and it never lets up. JB’s trademark tapping guitar during breakdowns comes shortly after, relieving any doubt people had about ABR letting up or becoming stale. This is wholly August Burns Red, but feels fresh enough that it’s not the same album over and over. Luhrs continues to grow as a lyricist, painting a picture of loss, uncertainty and pain.

Though ABR could easily shoot another music video in an abandoned warehouse, like all of their peers do, this band continues to push the envelope on art, originality, and the pursuit of standing out. Marionette puppets is something I’ve never seen in a metalcore video, and it surprisingly lines up with the actual instrumentals. All of these things come together to prove that though they’ve been around for a while, August Burns Red are anything but a rundown, burnt out band with no care for their art.

RIYL: Architects, Texas In July, Haste The Day

 

Gone – Knuckle Puck

Knuckle Puck teased the world with a little two song EP, and it made us all realize how much we needed a new album. Well, they heard, and here is the lead single for their new album Shapeshifter. As many expected, Copacetic, the bands debut album, rocketed them in popularity with the likes of Real Friends, The Story So Far and Neck Deep. However, as is the case with most bands, the sophomore release is the one that proves whether they will stick around for a while, or will fall off. And if this single is any indicator of what is to come, KP is definitely in for a long career.

The Chicago band continues right where they left off with bouncy, dissonant chords and technical drumming with passionate lyrics and vocal deliveries. Though definitely not original in a scene overrun with the new wave of pop-punk bands, Knuckle Puck have a twist on the genre that truly is all their own, and it’s an itch that no other bands can really scratch. Picking up where they left off, the lyrical content speaks of loss, broken friendships/relationships, and how sometimes moving on is the best thing for everyone. What I’ve always appreciated about Knuckle Puck is how they approach their songs with various layers of guitar and vocals, which is showcased completely in the bridge of this song. This little taste makes this album jump up to my most anticipated albums for the rest of the year.

RIYL: Neck Deep, The Story So Far, Trash Boat

 

The Hammer – Kublai Khan

Kublai Khan have been a band since 2009, and I still don’t understand why they aren’t bigger than they are. They play a perfect blend of beatdown metalcore and hardcore punk, and I get hyped every time their songs come on shuffle. The Hammer marks the first song on Rise Records for this band, a change from their previous Artery Records label. And maybe a change is what they need to get on the right tours and create that fanbase they deserve. If this single carries as well as I hope it will, they will get those fans.

This song is absolutely relentless in the best way possible. Though it’s a chug-chug song, it’s a rhythm that isn’t usually used by your typical beatdown band, and the walk down riff is really catchy. There’s really no other way to say it: This band is heavy. They bring it in every single song, and if that’s what you’re looking for, you’ll enjoy Kublai. If you’re not into it, this band isn’t for you. Just give it a shot and bang your head.

RIYL: Knocked Loose, The Acacia Strain, Gideon

 

Pain Again – Varials

Varials are the hot new band on the block, currently on tour with the scene’s biggest up-and-comer, Wage War. Similar to Kublai Khan, they have a nice mixture of beatdown metalcore with hardcore. Varials have truly perfected the moshcore style, and it shines through on this song. The instrumentals are on point (especially those ghost notes from the drummer) and the vocals are perfect for this song. The last 20 seconds really showcase the drummer, and as the vocalist screams “Pain Again,” I knew this wasn’t another run-of-the-mill metalcore band. There’s a passion and attention to detail in this band that is often missing from the “mosh” bands that would rather just chug away at the same breakdown over and over. These guys push themselves, and therefore push their peers to experiment. I’m looking forward to watching this band blow up as Wage War and Knocked Loose have over the past few years.

RIYL: Emmure, For The Fallen Dreams, Kublai Khan