All That Remains


Written by: AP on 23/09/2008 14:28:59

In just four years, All That Remains has risen from the metalcore pool to be one of its stirrers, one of the genre's three main men alongside Killswitch Engage and As I Lay Dying. Much of its success the band owes to Guitar Hero, which phenomenalized the song "Six" from the band's critically acclaimed third album, "The Fall of Ideals", but it'd be a shame to ignore the band's driving force, ex-Shadows Fall vocalist Phil Labonte, whose vocals on that album left most at a loss for words. With the release of that album, it became clear that the band was moving toward a more mainstream, crowd-pleasing sound with a greater emphasis on clean singing, and "Overcome" certainly furthers that idea.

Instrumentally there's next to no progression here, to the extent that most riffs and solos sound a bit too familiar and contrived. Mike and Oli have proven their skill with a six-string, but their playing on "Overcome" isn't as exhibitionistic as before, settling instead for rather anonymous fourth-generation At The Gates riffs. Drumming, never one of the band's secret weapons, delivers no surprises here, either, and the band's female figure Jeanne Sagan seems content with shadowing the rhythm guitar. Fans of metalcore will of course find plenty of detail to rave about, from sinuous textbook solos to mosh-friendly breakdowns, but the album's no risks policy will inspire little awe from the rest of us. What is missed here is some edge.

So, while his band members indulge in a passionless by-the-books spree, Phil Labonte steps in to steal the show with vocals that are as impressive as ever. What is most pleasing about them now is that his vocals haven't been overproduced, and that he exercises restraint in even the most emotional of parts. The vocals sound far more authentic and raw, which might owe to the decision not to enlist Adam Dutkiewicz as producer again, with Jason Suecof having taken over. Unfortunately his trust in Labonte's vocal breadth means that he tends to cloud out the rest of the band by underproducing the bass in particular. But as mentioned before, that hardly matters when there's nothing intriguing there in the first place.

It certainly isn't the offspring "The Fall of Ideals" deserved, but its profuse and catchy vocal hooks spare it from a potential bashing. It isn't a bad album, it's just frustrating to bear witness to a waste of talent, though a faithful cover of Nevermore's "Believe in Nothing" earns them an unexpected bonus. On the other hand, one wonders if that particular song might just be a fitting metaphor for the album. All That Remains play it safe and and play it well; "Overcome" is consistently good, but never amazing.


Download: Before the Damned, Two Weeks, Chiron

For the fans of: Killswitch Engage, As I Lay Dying, Caliban

Listen: Myspace

Release date 16.09.2008


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