August Burns Red was hatched in an old egg house and basement of the Greiner family farm in Manheim, Pennsylvania, deep in the heart of Amish Country in Lancaster County.
Drummer Matt Greiner and his high school buddies weren’t Amish or they would not have been playing electric guitars and creating metalcore music, forming a band in 2003 before they graduated. Thirteen years later, August Burns Red has been nominated for a Grammy Award and is among the most popular metal bands touring today.
But where did that name originate? The musicians dispelled a story that a former member had dated a girl named August who burned a dog named Redd, admitting they just made up the band’s name.
Their Amish neighbors lead a simple life, shunning electricity and other modern conveniences and, for the most part, musical instruments. But what they share in common is a belief in God. August burns Red is a Christian metal band, known for its conscious lyrics, dealing with themes such as social tolerance, grieving the loss of a loved one or handling feelings of depression.
In an interview with the online magazine Shout!, lead guitarist J.B. Brubaker noted, “Christianity is a religion, not a style of music” and said the band shares its values through its lyrics. Rhythm guitarist Brent Rambler added, “It is important for us that people know that we are indeed Christians… without us having to stand up there and ram it down people’s throats.”
The band has released seven albums, including 2015’s “Found in Far Away Places,” which produced the Grammy-nominated single “Identity.” The song addresses self-acceptance in the face of criticism.
August Burns Red is known for its heavy riffs and vocals filled with emotion. Greiner, Brubaker and Rambler have been with the band since its inception. Lead singer Jake Luhrs and bassist Dustin Davidson joined three years later in 2006.
Something on your mind? Chances are the missionaries of metal will address the subject on Monday night when their Legends of the Fall Tour stops at Reno’s Cargo Concert Hall. Tickets for the 7 p.m. show are $17.50. Doors open at 6.
– Randy Hashagen