They quickly started playing shows around Lancaster recorded their first demo in 2004, when some of the members were still in high school; later that year, a local independent label, CI Records, released the group's first EP, Looks Fragile After All. Steady touring and positive response to the EP led to the group being signed to noted Christian metal label Solid State Records, who released August Burns Red's first full-length album, Thrill Seeker, in the fall of 2005. Thrill Seeker also marked the recording debut for vocalist Josh McManness, who replaced the departing Jon Hershey. McManness's stay with August Burns Red proved to be short, and when their second album, Messengers, reached stores in June 2007, the group had yet another lead singer, Jake Luhrs.
Messengers is more than just a collection of 11 raging metal songs that ravage the ears of their listeners with technical skill and immense passion. The record is, in fact, not only a musical collaboration, but also a lyrical one, where every member of the band contributed to the lyrical content with their own thoughts, ideas and messages. Hence the record's intriguing title.
"We all contributed to the lyrics on this one whereas on Thrill Seeker our singer did all the writing," Brubaker explains. "We all offered different ideas. Each of us wrote a set of lyrics and we'd pick a song we thought they'd fit with. It was a collaboration rather than one person."
The band has toured with bands such as The Chariot, Ringworm, Demiricous, Ligeia, Terror, Bury Your Dead, Scars of Tomorrow, They Murdered Miracles, Sinai Beach, Nodes of Ranvier, The Showdown, Project 86, Between the Buried and Me, Chiodos, The Number Twelve Looks Like You, ZAO, Demon Hunter, Spoken, Destroy The Runner, Inhale Exhale, Twelve Gauge Valentine, Becoming the Archetype, Life in Your Way, Evergreen Terrace, I See Stars, and Casey Jones.
Although August Burns Red’s music is often defined as Christian metalcore, guitarist JB Brubaker mentioned in an interview with Shout!, an online magazine, that “Christian is a religion and not a style of music,” and he would “rather just let the music speak for itself.” However, fellow guitarist Brent Rambler commented on the fact that “It is important to us that people know that we are indeed Christians…without having us stand up there and ram it down people’s throats.”