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Can’t Fall if You Don’t Rise - 70%

Five_Nails, August 6th, 2011

With a very accessible melodic metalcore sound uplifted by a percussive but triggered low end, All that Remains doesn’t bend any genres or tear down old metal structures but plays into them with a sound just unique enough at times and generic enough at others to be a memorable and recognizable metal band destined for popularity but not nearly worthy of legend in creating anything new. The band’s sound isn’t new, just take a quick melody that easily breaks down into an 8/8 rhythm and play it twice with a single guitar and again with two. Under that throw in some unnecessarily quick snare and cymbal drumming while filling the open space with double bass kicks leaving no room for bass guitar as the vocalist screams, growls, and shows off his range until a catchy resonating sung chorus fills in the rest of the song.

Though this band should be dripping from all the generic sop that one would expect of a metalcore band trying to sound heavier than they can play, “This Calling”, “Not Alone”, and “It Dwells in Me” actually memorably open “The Fall of Ideals”. Though they feature every expected part of a metalcore track, the personality expressed by All that Remains brings a convincing and uncompromising attitude and angst to their uplifting sounding mix. “We Stand” features the expected solo to breakdown, “Whispers (I Hear You)” has the slow bouncing sound that’s opened by an acoustic, and “Six” is the powerful exploder of the album, but other than these standouts, the rest of this album doesn’t impress. “The Air That I Breathe” is again a very recognizable track, but after the hook its hampered by such boring and atonal guitar riffs that can’t do more than lead into the only melody of the track that it’s as though they’re trying their best to hang over the neutral zero and not expand their range whatsoever or even hope to move more than into another sappy harmonic melody then go into the atonal riff again. For all the audible exertion in this album, there just isn’t really any result for most tracks. “Become the Catalyst”, “Empty Inside”, and “Indictment” could have easily not been included, the riffs sound like they all could have gone into a single song, been drummed to a little slower and would have been about the same result with no need to change the tempo. This may be the biggest problem for All That Remains, they can play into their sound and keep a good meter, but the tempo changes are one of two things, either a slow breakdown into the hook of the track or ultra-speed for the hook of the track using only the low end while the guitars do the same thing over and over again. There’s only one focus, everything that drifts from the hook comes back to it no matter how many times one note has to be hit to bring it around again, and in the end I may as well just put on some reggaeton through seven tracks of this album and hear just as much movement and about the same amount of weight as All that Remains style becomes much too empty and singular in focus to really push any envelope or create interesting music in half of this release.

Like many metalcore vocalists, Phil Labonte says, screams, growls, sings, and projects a lot, but usually doesn’t say much. Anything more than the usual positive messages about self-empowerment, upholding your beliefs, and being yourself won’t be found, anything having relevance to something more than individualism, anything with metaphor or symbolism, or any motifs are completely lost on this album instead for defiant and simple phrases that any large group of people can scream over a five note guitar harmony and feel strong for belting out. This is metalcore at its most bare bones, easy on the palate, accessible, uplifting the listener, memorable in the moment, and forgotten by the next season.

The track with the best sound, “The Weak Willed” probably has the worst vocals throughout this album. The riffs actually move, the drums play into the opening sound, and the band actually throws in a progression or two instead of hanging on a single structure. This track is the most death metal sounding of “The Fall of Ideals”, but again the guitars end up trying too hard to get to the hook and then end the song to really hone in on the slow and brooding sound death metal creates.

In all, “The Fall of Ideals” by All that Remains seems casual metal for casual listeners. If you’ve got a Bullet, Trivium, Avenged, or Disturbed fan around, they’d probably get into this album, but as a band that can do anything more stylistically for metal in general than be another band out there that kind of gets it, this isn’t it.