August Burns Red's Brent Rambler: The 10 Records That Changed My Life

Brent Rambler

August Burns Red have been a mainstay of the 21st century’s metalcore scene, recently releasing their seventh full-length Phantom Anthem through Fearless Records. Following a few line-up changes over the years, ABR’s core has remained lead guitarist John Brubaker, drummer Matt Greiner and rhythm guitarist Brent Rambler.

We caught up with Brent to talk about the music that inspired him growing up in Pennsylvania, and sent him down the path of metal and hardcore. There are some classics in here, that’s for sure.

The first album I bought was…

Green Day – Dookie (Reprise, 1994)

“It was a cassette of Dookie when I was in fourth grade. I remember seeing the music video for Basket Case and I loved that song, loved that video. I went to the mall with my mom, I saw the cassette and bought it because I really liked that single they put out.”

My favourite artwork is…

Baroness – Purple (Abraxan Hymns, 2015)

“The Purple artwork is incredible, but everything John Baizley does it awesome. It’s pretty mind-blowing stuff. It’s all so clean and you can tell it’s him when you see it. I think he’s really good at drawing people, which is really hard to do. There’s a lot to look at in his artwork and I don’t know if you get that nowadays. It’s worth it to buy the vinyl from Baroness because you know the artwork inside is going to be really cool.”

The album that reminds me of school is…

Poison The Well – The Opposite Of December (Trustkill, 1999)

The Opposite Of December reminds me of school because I made a video project and used their song Nerdy in it. The video was for an audio/visual class, it had to be a scary video around Halloween time and you had to make your own horror movie. We made this video going down into a twisty basement with all this kind of scary stuff. We led someone down who had no idea what we were doing and scared the crap out of them! That was our video ha ha.”

The album I want to be remembered for is…

August Burns Red – Rescue & Restore (Solid State, 2013)

“I think that’s a great record, the lyrics are really good and the music is amongst our best. It’s a really technically proficient record, there’s a lot of variety on it. I wrote a lot of the lyrics and they’re some of the best I’ve written, so that will always hold a spot for me. Phantom Anthem is also a great record, I wrote most of the lyrics on that as well, but Rescue & Restore was the fist record where I was really really stoked on the words I came up with.”

The album that makes me drive to fast is…

Converge – Jane Doe (Equal Vision, 2001)

“It’s just balls to the wall, it gets you going. When that record first came out there was nothing like it. On first listen you’re like ‘What the hell did I just listen to?!’ You don’t understand what happened but you like it, so you keep listening to it and it’s so good. It’s one of those records where you have an angry face on every time you listen to it.”

The album that broke my heart is…

Pianos Become The Teeth – The Lack Long After (Topshelf Records, 2011)

“It was all about his mother passing away from cancer and on first listen I was like ‘Oh I really love this record’ then you read the lyrics and the record is heartbreaking. It’s a tough listen to get through, you feel like you’re relating so much to what he’s saying that I couldn’t listen to it anymore. It’s just so sad and it puts me in such a sad place. It literally breaks your heart.”

The most underrated album is…

Minus The Bear – Infinity Overhead (Big Scary Monsters, 2012)

“I love how they are a metal band disguised as an indie rock band. Some of the guys came from Botch and you can still hear that in their songs, it’s like they write the songs in distortion then just turn it to the clean channel to record. They’re just so good. Their guitar players are absolutely incredible.”

The album I want played at my funeral is…

Against Me! – Against Me! As The Eternal Cowboy (Fat Wreck Chords, 2003)

“All those songs about drinks and have a good time. I just don’t want a super sad, sappy funeral. I’ve always loved that band, I must have more records of their’s in my collection than anything else. You could also pick Searching For A Former Clarity because there’s some sad songs, I could go out to the song Violence maybe.”

No-one would believe I own a copy of…

Alt-J – An Awesome Wave (Infectious, 2012)

“I bought it ‘cause I liked it, but someone questioned me on it and it was just because I like one song. I haven’t listened to it in a while but I do like it, a lot of people think it’s a really strange record in all my collection. Our old sound guy was playing them one day and I liked it, then I used Shazam to find it as Alt-J and head to a record store to pick it up. There’s some good catchy songs.”

A kid asks me what metal is. I hand them a copy of…

At The Gates – Slaughter Of The Soul (Earache, 1995)

“That is metal. That’s just the defining moment of Swedish metal that was so awesome. There’s that rumour that the guitar players walked in, did each song in one take, then left ha ha. That’s the epitome of metal, that’s so sick. Every song is great and it’s just a really cool record. They put it out then they were gone! They’ve reformed since, but it was like ‘Here’s the best record ever now we’re gone!’”

August Burns Red’s new album Phantom Anthem is out now via Fearless and is available to order.

Luke Morton joined Metal Hammer as Online Editor in 2014, having previously worked as News Editor at popular (but now sadly defunct) alternative lifestyle magazine, Front. As well as helming the Metal Hammer website for the four years that followed, Luke also helped relaunch the Metal Hammer podcast in early 2018, producing, scripting and presenting the relaunched show during its early days. He also wrote regular features for the magazine, including a 2018 cover feature for his very favourite band in the world, Slipknot, discussing their turbulent 2008 album, All Hope Is Gone.