Release DetailsLABEL Razor & Tie Records
RELEASED ON 7/11/2006
All That Remains
The Fall of Ideals
posted on 7/2006 By:
Having lived in Boston up until last Fall, I had an inside eye on the burgeoning metal scene that has produced such current luminaries as Shadows Fall and Killswitch Engage. A year or two later the labels noticed other local acts that were just as promising like Unearth, Diecast, Beyond the Embrace, and today’s band, All That Remains. While generally, the success and acclaim has been equitably distributed, with the best bands getting the most attention, I can’t help but feel that ATR has gotten overlooked.
Their first album, Behind Silence and Solitude, was solid stuff for a local act, and certainly more raw than they are nowadays. However their 2004 album, This Darkened Heart was a HUGE step up, and arguably the best album to come out of Massachusetts that year. They played the NWOAHM template to near-perfection: inspired screams, smooth clean vocals, an adept dual guitar attack, with a healthy dose of breakdowns and solos. And yet, they weren’t being shown the love. Finally they seem to be getting their due with an Ozzfest slot, in conjunction with a new album that is their finest to date.
The Fall of Ideals continues in the direction set by their last album, becoming more confident in their sound. A few bands now have figured out how to exactly play this style of new metal to maximum effect, which means that closing time must be coming soon. But for now lets enjoy the results. The stellar pipes of Phil Labonte are the backbone of the band, combining a venomous bark with some of the better cleans in the genre. Not to be overlooked is the riffing of Oli Hebert, which is what got me interested in the band in the first place.
The choruses contain some of the catchiest earworms I’ve heard in a long while, but they are generally backed up with relentless drumming and strong rhythm guitarwork. Their experience and musical ability overcompensate for any points that may be docked for predictability. Solos are well-placed and exemplary displays of noodling that sound especially alive due to a top studio mix. All instruments are bright and clear – a true 21st century production job. Of course not everyone will think that is a plus, but it fits this modern metal like a glove.
By the summer of 2006, you know whether or not you like this type of U.S. metal. It is heavy enough to grate the ears of the elderly, and accessible enough to turn off the extreme metal purists. Everything that Killswitch Engage and Trivium have been doing right lately is on display here. While the emergence of All That Remains may be a little overdue, they make the most of it with one of the most addicting albums of the year.
posted on 7/2006 By:
From the opening seconds of the double bass backed scream of “This Calling” you can tell this is a different All That Remains. There’s no doubt they’ve decided to take a more aggressive musical direction than their two previous efforts, streamlining the sound with less solos, less acoustic/instrumental sections and less off kilter rhythms. Pushing this style change further is the generally faster song tempo, occasional use of blast beats and less groove based breakdowns, a direction they briefly hinted at with the closing track on This Darkened Heart.
But while the music is going in one direction the vocals seem to have missed the boat given the all too frequent clean portions. Maybe some people can reconcile tough as nails metalcore and clean vocals in the same breath but it just confuses my one track mind. Beyond the growing use of clean vocals, lead singer Phil Labonte is tackling some new turf on this disc. His core style is a low end guttural shout that any metalcore fan will be familiar but he’s accented it with a scathing high end rasp he started using a bit on the last record that somewhat reminds me of a male version of the new Arch Enemy singer. He excels at these two pitches, equally menacing with either and uses them to add a nice bit of variety to the songs.
As mentioned before, one area he chose to expand considerably is the clean vocals. Regrettably they are wide spread from start to finish, gracing almost every song. They’re not too cheesy in the NWOBHM operatic sense but it’s enough to make me cringe a bit. I’d much rather have him stick to his usual approach than try to give the songs more overt melody than necessary. Still, he’s pretty good at this style as well. Really the only time he doesn’t succeed is on “The Weak Willed”. Here he experiments with some grind/burp and black metal vocals that, despite some blast beats and a generally caustic bend to the song and lyrics, come across as more showing off than fitting the actual mood of the song. I guess that minor excess can be forgiven if the guitarists are allowed to indulge in so many solos.
Speaking of solos, there’s still more than a few tasty power/traditional metal style solos but they’re not the centerpiece of the sound like their last record. I usually dislike all out solo wankery but for some reason it really works in this band and I actually find myself missing it. Maybe they were trying to move away from their more Arch Enemy like tendencies but I think that’s something that made them stand out in the crowded metalcore field. Most of those bands are content with straight Maiden pilfering so anything that sounds different is a welcome change so it’s a little disheartening to see it play a relatively minor role here.
I usually enjoy when a band toughens up their sound and it’s hard to argue with the noticeably harder edge to these songs but the lack of overall groove and diminished lead guitars makes it hard to say this is a step up from past work. Of course this is extremely well played and well produced metalcore from a technical standpoint. It easily competes with the upper crust of the genre but, with their previously more unique elements reined in, The Fall Of Ideals sounds suspiciously similar to them as well. I don’t want to throw the word sell out, especially because they’ve taken the music in an arguably more caustic direction and this could have been a totally organic development, but it seems like this record will definitely please the Ozzfest crowd while leaving some long time fans (if 2002 counts as long!) feeling a little left out.
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