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Interviews : “We’re having a pretty good run at this point”- An Interview with Brent Rambler (August Burns Red)

By on September 25, 2017

August Burns Red – Brent Rambler

American metalcore band August Burns Red are set to release their seventh album, Phantom Anthem, in early October. Rhythm guitarist and co-founding member Brent Rambler is extremely happy that his band has made it this far, and their longevity is partly due to the fact that he and the other members remain very realistic about their career and their prospects as a heavy band in an uncertain musical climate.

“It feels pretty great actually,” he enthuses, “to keep going this long is obviously a lot longer than we expected. So that’s a big plus. You never know when your bands going to end, every new album you put out could be your last record depending on whether or not people like it. I think we’re having a pretty good run at this point, we have a very solid and established fanbase.”

That fanbase certainly seems to appreciate the consistency of sound and quality the band keep maintaining, even after so long and so many releases. “Each album we try to mix things up, but each album is still one of our records and will sound like one of our records. I think we’ll keep that core fanbase with this album, and maybe we’ll grow a little, who knows.

“At this point in our career the best we can hope is maintain, I think, and not just drop off drastically!” He laughs.

He is just a little incredulous that his band have been together for almost a decade and a half and has released that many albums over their journey. “It’s kinda flown by, but it’s all we’ve really known,” he states, “we went straight from High School to doing this basically. I had a year and a half of college, but throughout that time in college we were doing the band. So it’s all we know, and we still feel lucky to be doing it.”

The album certainly features that grinding heaviness that the band are well known for, however Rambler tells us that they went for a slightly more accessible edge to the sound this time around. “I do think that on this record we focused more on catchy vocals,” he says, “there’s a lot more rhyming and the vocals just seemed to stand out a little more on this record than in the past.

“Screaming vocals are obviously not driving the melody, so it takes a little bit more effort to get the vocals stuck in your head, we took a lot more time with that on this record.”

With regards to the lyrics and imagery featured on the record, whilst certainly not a concept album, Phantom Anthem has a number of somewhat cryptic themes and messages running through, some of which Rambler is happy to explain.

“The theme behind the title Phantom Anthem is just that, every person you see on the street, whether they’re making a lasting impact or not, or whether or not you see it at first, everyone deep down inside has a purpose, has a calling,” he explains, “something that makes them unique, special. It talks about that. The phantom aspect being the nameless and the faceless people that you see every day that you’re not really thinking about, but what’s buried deep down inside them and what will eventually grow and come out is the anthem part.”

This ties in directly with the cover of the album too, which is also quite an enigmatic piece of art, depicting the dark outline of a human figure, with a flower growing where the brain would be which is sprouting roots down into the torso area. “The silhouette is the phantom and then the flower coming out would be the anthem part, like the roots are buried deep down inside but then it eventually flourishes and comes out.”

Rambler is a little uncertain as to whether the band will head out to Australia on this album cycle, or indeed as part of the celebratory tour they have been doing of the ten year anniversary of their breakthrough second album Messengers. He remains optimistic without being completely confident of a return visit to our shores.

“I hope so,” he says, “we really wanted to come down there and do a Messengers tour, but when we were first planning out the Messengers tour, we were told at first that there just wasn’t the interest. We can only go where promoters want to book us. But we’d love to come down there, we’d love to headline in Australia, it’s been since 2012 when we were last there headlining. We’ll have to see, it’s a hard place to get to, but we’re trying!”

The new album Phantom Anthem, out now via Fearless Records. Click here to secure your copy.

About

Rod Whitfield is a Melbourne-based writer and retired musician who has been writing about music since 1995. He has worked for Team Rock, Beat Magazine, themusic.com.au, Heavy Mag, Mixdown, The Metal Forge, Metal Obsession and many others. He has written and published his memoirs of his life and times in the music biz, and also writes books, screenplays, short stories, blogs and more.