Saturday, January 12, 2013

All That Remains-A War You Cannot Win

Razor & Tie

True story. Until last week I had no idea who/what All That Remains were. I mean yeah, I had heard the name before and all, but could I tell you even one song title? Could I tell you one member or even what style of metal they played? Nope. So, seven days ago I had no concept of this album and yet here I am reviewing it and, in the process, spilling out my life story. Or is it a story of heartache and loss? Let's be honest and just say that more then anything it's an excuse for me to ramble on while I review an album.You've been fairly warned! Anyway, it was a week ago today when I first heard All That Remains. Like I said earlier on, up to that point, I had never heard of this band before which is kind of weird since the band features former Shadow Fall's lead vocalist (and one time Killswitch Engage touring vocalist) Philip Labonte who I've always liked. They also have bassist Jeanne Sagan (formerly of The Acacia Strain) and original Diecast drummer Jason Costa in their ranks. I'm not at all familiar with the group's guitarists (Oli Herbert and Mike Martin), but that really is neither here nor there. That is the line-up these days with Labonte and Herbert being the only two original members left since the group formed in 1998. So, there you have All That Remains. And the story to go with this album? Or is it the album to go along with this story? I'm confused myself at this point. Anyway, there I was in Tennessee riding in the car with my friend. Down there they have a station that plays hard rock/heavy metal/alt.metal, etc. You know, all things hard and heavy. I really wish we had a station life that up here in the Cleveland area. That's beside the point though as there we were driving in my friend's car and they were playing double shots of bands and they played two tracks by All That Remains off of this album. I'm fairly certain they were "Stand Up" and "What if I Was Nothing". For whatever reason that second cut hit me. Maybe it was the thought that this could be the last time I saw my friend? Maybe these songs were just the perfect background noise for me as I stared at this one person that I had a thousand (a million really) things I wanted to say and couldn't find the words. Later on as I was waiting in the airport and thinking about her and about everything that happened (and didn't happen) I downloaded this album. Whatever I was feeling back in the car must have overflowed my judgement as this album is a tale of the good, bad and man alive, is that ever UGLY! Right up front I'll say that what turns of All That Remains core group of fans is the one thing I like. Less metalcore and more heavy metal is a good thing to these ears as metalcore is played out. Not to worry though, if all things Killswitch Engage is what you're looking for then "A Call to All Non-Believers", "Sing for Liberty" and "Just Moments in Time" have all the clean singing/death growls you could ever ask for. Just like all of their past albums this one was also produced by Killswitch Engage guitarist Adam DutkiewiczI and his influence really rubs off on All That Remains. At it's core this is metalcore. It might be metalcore looking to branch out into mainstream radio rock/radio metal, but it's metalcore all the same. The problem is A) it's only so-so metalcore to begin with and B) when my emotions are not running all wacky I can clearly tell that the traditional heavy metal/modern rock/hard rock/whatever you want to call it is average at best. At worst it's just awful stuff. I did really like the title cut. Other then that? Lots and lots of the same ideas end up running into each other and by the end everything feels played out and tiring. This LP served as a lesson to me to not download material when my emotions are running high.

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