Last year I talked with August Burns Red over Skype while they were over in Europe. Only interview I've ever done over Skype. It was pretty interesting. Anyway, this is what's up with Constellations....
Progression is a dangerous tight rope that many artists face walking, and often falling to their impending doom - even if there is a minority of us that still enjoy the step, or sometimes leap, forward. Music would not be as exciting if some bands didn't try to step out of the pocket and continue to push themselves. Though, I'll be the first to admit that some bands moved just a bit too far outside their comfort zone.
I hated They're Only Chasing Safety. From the less than admirable first single of "Reinventing Your Exit" to the lackluster barrage of bands that followed, it was the bane of my existence for some years. I didn't get it. It's not that I longed for another The Changing of Times, because an album like that is now a bit behind me, but it just seemed like an easy out for the band. Then Define the Great Line dropped and turned Underoath into a completely different band. A band that seemed intent on pushing themselves as far away from such a wretched sound that built their career thus far. Lost in the Sound of Separation cements that fact. After the show, I was able to have a word with guitarist Tim McTague in which he explained that the band is going to be pushing for something even further. An "audio/visual" experience on record and in their "future live shows," something they had hoped to bring out a bit on this tour. It's still early to tell with the work that has been done in the home studio of the bus during tour, he says, but from McTague's banter, it sounds exciting and promising.
This is a show review, is it not?
Emery took the stage to two Christmas trees and a blow up Santa, doing an acapella version of "White Christmas" and launching into "So Cold I Could See My Breath." The band did a great job of ripping through their catalog with energy and ease as vocalist/keyboardist Josh Head did his best "I look like Rob Zombie's younger brother" impression and climbed atop the crowd at the end of "Walls." With the release of In Shallow Seas We Sail, I think Emery show they still have prowess, and after their set, it seemed they have the energy to keep it up.
August Burns Red doesn't let up until the end. From the beginning of "White Washed" to the closing "Composure," they run around the stage and everything sounds solid. The band are sound intent on being one of the best metal bands out there. Their show is proof of that. The "Carol of the Bells" cover was a nice touch as well.
Underoath took the stage and launched - and I don't use that term loosely - into "The Only Survivor Was Miraculously Unharmed" and "In Regards to Myself." Frontman Spencer Chamberlain strapped on a guitar for "Emergency Broadcast:The End is Near" and the groundbreaking Define the Great Line track "Casting Such a Thin Shadow." Match the energy of the newer tracks live to the showmanship of "Young and Aspiring" and "It's Dangerous Business Walking Out Your Front Door," and you can certainly tell where the band is headed and where some fans still seat themselves in nostalgia. I'm excited for the band's future, because you can tell it in where the emphasis lies in the setlist for this tour. I'm curious to see the line the band will walk next.