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Balls to the wall! - 80%

invaded, July 16th, 2006

On their last record, All That Remains showed that they had a much bigger european influence than manyof their metalcore counterparts. On this record many of those influences are lost. There are still melodies and harmonies and the like, however this is a very tone driven record, and one where Phil Labonte, the band's vocalist, really shines.

I was very impressed with this man's delivery on TDH, but here he just busts out a variety of vocal styles, all of which kick total ass. He can do death growls, a more hardcore approach, high shrieks that border on black metal, and a clean voice that fits just as nicely(to me anyway) as Jesse David Leach did for Killswitch Engage back in the day. Why Shadows Fall ever let this man go for the less than exceptional Brian Fair is a mystery to me.

As far as the sound of the band is concerned, I much prefer the overall tone and production here than on the last album. The guitars aren't as dry and have a punch behind them. The drums are deep and thick and when he decides to do a blast beat, the effect defintely hits you harder than it would with lesser production. The vocals are crystal clear and the record just has an overall heavy and thick sound.

As for the actual songs, they seem less polished than on TDH, but have a much heavier edge to them and have a much more death metal feel to them than on their previous material. The first song "This Calling" starts off with Labonte taking a breath and unleashing a gut wrenching scream over some ferocious riffing. Already you know you're in for something pretty intense. The clean chorus is perfectly executed, this is a great song.

What I enjoy about All That Remains is that they write RECORDS, not a cd with a couple of good tracks and a bunch of filler. They concieve their record nicely and have a natural progression and a cool flow between the songs. From front to back the songwriting is very good, the arrangements are well thought out and this record is fun to listen to. Plus these guys can play too. If there are any guitar enthusiasts out there, this record has some very solid lead playing as well.

This is just a good heavy metal record. Case closed...