August Burns Red released their brand new album, "Leveler," this week. To celebrate we asked guitarist / primary songwriter JB Brubaker to tell us about some of the favorite songs from the album. Here is today's song "Internal Cannon":
Internal Cannon is probably one of the more "out there" songs we've ever recorded. It doesn't really play by the rules of metalcore, and I think that's why I like it so much.
Internal Cannon was the second song I finished when writing for Leveler. I didn't set out to write a mariachi inspired metal song. It just sort of happened. The first minute or so came very naturally to me and sounded like a typical August Burns Red song. It had a thrashy intro, a big breakdown, and a lot of riffing going on. What threw the song for a loop was the key change that occurs right before the first clean section. It changes into a key ABR has never played in before and as a result, it just sounded different. I couldn't just go into a heavy open C breakdown because of the key the song had changed to. We have key changes in a lot of our songs, but they are never on purpose. They are simply a result of where the guitars happen to go. I wish I had a better explanation for this, but as a writer who has very little knowledge of music theory I can't explain why.
Upon changing keys the song goes into what I like to call the "cruise ship" part. It's a light beachy sounding section that sounds nothing like anything ABR has ever played before. Matt (our drummer) recorded all kinds of percussion instruments over the section and I play a little guitar lead that a hula dancer could shake her hips to. It was at this point that I knew this song was going in strange places and I liked it.
After the cruise ship section the song rips back into a thrashy metal riff that doesn't sound out of the ordinary in the least, but things get weird immediately after. The song does a complete 180 as everything drops out except a simple quiet clean guitar line that has a distinctive mariachi vibe. While recording this part our producer, Jason Suecof, described it as something straight out of a Quentin Tarantino film. This mariachi esque section is one of my favorite moments on the entire album because of how off the wall it is. The quiet mariachi section is followed by a long guitar solo that I've been told sounds like Carlos Santana gone metal. It's my favorite solo that I've ever written and I remember sitting in my room for hours working on it. My fingers were getting shredded from bending my strings so much which is something I hadn't done much of in the past. I had an absolute blast writing that guitar solo.
When I finished the song I was pretty nervous as to how the rest of my band would react to it. I had a similar feeling a couple hours before we released the song online for everyone to hear. I really had no intention of trying to reinvent ABR's sound, and as a whole I don't think Leveler as an album strays too far from the path we've been following. Internal Cannon is simply us pushing the envelope of our sound and trying something brand new for us. There were mixed feeling about this song within the band when I first showed it to everyone, but in time we all got on the same page and went with it. I figured if we're going to try something different we might as well go all out and make it as crazy as we want. I hope people have as much fun listening to that song as I did writing it.
Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself and learn more about the album right here!