All Else Fails-Fucktropolis
Suicidal Bride Records
The last time Edmonton, Alberta's 4-piece metal juggernaut All Else Fails stopped by Heavy Metal Time Machine for a visit they left my ear drums rattled and my body was reduced to nothing but mush! That all came courtesy of simply streaming their killer 2011 album, "The Oracle, What Was, Is And Could Have Been", which you can read about at the link below. Given how much I appreciated the band's previous mash-up of melodic thrash metal, punk, traditional heavy metal, hard rock and metalcore I was beyond psyched for this EP's release. After running through these tracks a couple times already, which is something since I just got this promo earlier in the week and all, I'm yet again left with a body in ruins thanks to the heavy-loaded, thrashtastic assault that comes from listening to All Else Fails! But, while the band's hybrid metal attack might have ended up shredding my body, I'm left with my spirits held high and I walk away with a sick sense of enjoyment as this kind of bone-snapping metal is always a welcomed experience! As there are actually living people (and not metal monsters) behind this music let's do a run down on the who and the what of All Else Fails and this, their 4th overall release. Front and center is Barrett Klesko who handles vocals, guitar and programming. Yes, "programming" folks! On "Fucktropolis", which (title-wise) is sure to be a hit with those wonderful censors and all, the band adds in some "experimental" ideas such as samples and synth lines in order to catch the listener off guard. It works, but there's no worries when it come right down to it as this Edmonton act still gets down and dirty with the thrash and all. Even so these added bits and pieces of an experimental nature (which also includes some casual tiptoeing into the classical arena) actually add to this EP's urgent intensity. For example (and it's an idea that helps to set the pace of this release), this EP opens with a speech by Martin Sheen about "The Global Village". Under this piece of spoken word sampling we find All Else Fails building up steam as the speech carries on. As you listen in to this speech you can't help but get caught up in the uneasy feeling that the track conveys. By the time some sick, harsh and downright brutal vocals (no worries folks as this one comes with clean and harsh vocals) kick in you've almost forgotten that this isn't the first time that we've had metal with a message, but seldom does it spring out of the gate this volatile and energized! When you're talking about that kind of "experimental" material you're also talking about a band that first and foremost knows who they are and what they are. This is a band that isn't afraid to rattle the cage a little by throwing different elements into their music. It's what has made All Else Fails such a widely traveled band that can play with just about anyone at any given moment. Otherwise how do you explain a band that can play with both Suffocation and the Dayglo Abortions? That right there says something about how All Else Fails can fit in with just about any band and any style of music. It's like All Else Fails looked at my personal CD collection and said "we should tour with these different acts and let everyone from punks to bangers lay witness to our furious onslaught!" and then they did! That's pretty damn close to being all out-wicked. Anyway, as we got off track let's run down the rest of this EP's line-up. Standing by Barrett Klesko's side is guitarist Mike Sands and together the pair just sit back and shred over the course of this EP! The sick and twisted riffs end up keeping "Fucktropolis" firmly planted as a metal release despite the new twists and turns. Every good band needs a sinister rhythm section so that is where Seedy Mitchell (bass, vocals) and Shane Tym (drums). They keeps things well-rounded and together the four musicians come together and merge into the perfect thrashing machine. While there were moments in the past when this band drew comparisons to As I Lay Dying, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, with this new EP they have made huge strides to forge their own identity. True, this digital promo does come packed with the usual "recommendations". It recommends this EP to fans of Killswitch Engage, In Flames, Alexis On Fire, Cancer Bats and Five Finger Death Punch and there's no doubt that yes, fans of those previously mentioned acts (as well as As I Lay Dying) should dig what All Else Fails is raging on about. But, that's just a recommendation as the truth is All Else Fails comes custom-packed with enough originality that it's time to just say that All Else Fails sounds like All Else Fails. No more and no less. In other words just get this EP!