August Burns Red Presents: Sleddin' Hill, A Holiday Album is the fifth full length album by the Manheim, Pennsylvania Metalcore group. It’s there first full instrumental album they’ve ever released, as well as their first Christmas album. The group started back in 2003 and currently consists of Jake Luhrs on vocals, JB Brubaker on lead guitar, Brent Rambler on rhythm guitar, Dustin Davidson on bass guitar, and Matt Greiner on drums. The group is known for its off-beat drum pieces, intricate guitar work, and faith based lyrical content, and in this new album, excluding the vocal talent, it doesn’t fail to carry on this legacy.
To kick it off you get the full brutality and fun atmosphere of tracks like “Flurries” and “Frosty the Snowman” and later shown through the punchy “Sleigh Ride” and the fun sing-along style of “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”. The album really crescendos in a way with the break-down heavy, emotional rollercoaster that is “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”. The band gives you a little teaser as things temporarily slow down with the melodic strings of guitarist JB Brubaker at the beginning of “Jingle Bells” but by half way through the song you are back on that same jolly Christmas time energy and devastation you get with the first two tracks. The band really goes out on a limb though with some interesting styles on tracks like “Sleigh Ride” incorporating in what sounds like might be a banjo of all instruments. The band keeps up a brutal pace with their insanely heavy “Carol of the Bells” showing the true style we have all come to know and love with August Burns Red, but in a turn of events we see a softer side of these guys in there song “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”. The song sounds like it comes straight off their album Empire, and really shows even the heaviest bands slow it down every now and then.
There isn’t a single track on the record that disappoints, although there isn’t really any big shift per say in there style of how they play there music. It’s still August Burns Red jamming out as they always have, just with a little Christmas magic thrown into an already brutal group of talented musicians.