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Unoriginal and unnecessary - 38%

PassiveMetalhead, March 6th, 2015

Massachusetts: home to Killswitch Engage, Unearth, Shadows Fall, Overcast and the more chaotic Converge: also known as some of the most successful metalcore bands in the metal scene. All the aforementioned artists seem to go from strength to strength with each album, however since 2006, fellow neighbourino’s All That Remains seemed to have strayed from their solid metalcore anthems such as This Calling and The Air That I Breathe and have instead taken (a) to the gym and (b) a more outspoken attitude to the meaning behind their newly watered down music. Recently singer Phil Labaonte has publicly made a point that he does not mince his words: “When it comes to rubbing people the wrong way, I don’t care who I offend”; and has a strong outlook on opponent topics such as politics, war and general apathy which is most evident in 2012’s tepid A War You Cannot Win. With all this built up aggression and defiance plus the addition of Josh Wilbur behind production (Gojira, Lamb Of God) for new album The Order Of Things, what could go wrong?

Ah… The album starts more with a pop than a bang… Immediately noticeable is Labaonte’s vocal work: the song is entirely cleanly sung and the dramatic buildup has zero effect. The clean vocals are a prominent feature of the album. Whilst it does bring in a sense of clarity it does overshadow the rest of the music in a negative way. The title of the first track (This Probably Won’t End Well) is actually decent summation of the album really…

All That Remains continue to use their approach of unity and self belief. These topics can be interesting and spark conflict in conversation however when sung in the wimpy way Labaonte sings the lyrics, it takes away the seriousness of what is invoked. Therefore someone farting the rhythm to Megadeth’s A Tout Le Monde would make a better ballad than the abysmally cheesy For You; and lyrics like “Remember what made us great/I am forever grateful for your hand to make me this way” (The Greatest Generation) follow the same mundane message of: You’re-a-strong-person-promise-me-you’ll-never-forget-that?

There are good aspects to this album however. All That Remains throw in a couple of surprises such as the addition of female backing vocals in Divide, even if it does make the singing even weaker than it already is… Josh Wilbur calibrates all the elements of precision within traditional metalcore into this record to make the overall production of the record its strongest point. Lead guitarist, Oli Herbert and, drummer, Jason Costa’s abilities are put in the spotlight in tracks such Bite My Tongue and Victory Lap. Hell, Labaonte even does a scream in Fiat Empire that would fit perfectly in 2006’s career best The Fall Of Ideals.

For a heavy metal album, there are only 2 ‘heavy songs’: Tru-Kvlt-Metal and the slightly somber No Knock. These songs just about save the album being laughable however the former track might be a genuinely good tune if it wasn’t so ironic for them to sing about not wanting to conform and it end up summarizing everything musically commercial and melodic that was released within the past 5 years…

Out With the Old, In With The Older - 60%

Jus36, February 25th, 2015

The newest album in All That Remains catalog, The Order of Things, is a step in the right direction. However it's far from being perfect, let alone great or good. I'll start out with statement: This album is a less memorable re-hash of Fall of Ideals and Overcome. If you like All That Remains older efforts, then rejoice! (kinda). One thing for sure is, it's much better than their last album, so I'll definitely take it.

First, some pros this album has, which isn't very many, is that some of the guitar solos on The Order of Things are actually pretty good and gave a few of the songs potential (i.e Criticism and Realization). Phil has started to incorporate both of his singing styles in songs more so this is also a plus for me. One can only imagine him getting annoyed by such an opinion, though. Lastly, the some of acoustic guitar passages put a nice touch on a few songs, which sadly this album lacks a lot of "nice touches".

Now onto the cons, a small margin of the songs just get pure sloppy and start sounding like a wall of noise (i.e the verses This Probably Wont End Well, heh.) Another glaring issue for me, is that there is about zero originality in this album like I stated in my opening paragraph. Even though lack of originality isn't necessarily a "bad thing", it just comes of as playing it safe and I'd like to see more creativity come from a once good band. The song "Tru-Kvlt-Metal" in itself is a con, and was more or less simply written just so Phil could shut up the "haters". Yay, thanks for the cringe, Phil. Please write less songs like this and go back to making songs with catchy choruses again.

All in all, The Order of Things is a textbook definition of mediocre. At the end of the day Did Phil shut up his haters? No, most likely not, but this album is a step back in the right direction and gave All That Remains potential to make good music again.

I wasn't expecting this - 82%

PorcupineOfDoom, February 24th, 2015

A War You Cannot Win was quite simply shit. It can't be analysed any further than that, the whole album was just terrible. And to be honest that's what All That Remains seem to be as a whole, just another metalcore band that border closer to emo than metal. Not my cup of tea, although admittedly some of the stuff that they've churned out does impress me to some degree (a guilty pleasure, you might say). And so I've decided to check out their latest effort, The Order of Things. The name might seem a little lacklustre, but there are some good things to be found here.

First off, I've always been a fan of melodic sections. Doesn't matter whether the band is playing black metal, metalcore, heavy metal or any other sub-genre of metal (or even if it isn't metal), if there are nice leads then I'll be able to appreciate it. All That Remains have that part of their band nailed very well, and every song has at least one bit with epic hooks in it, even the deathcore-styled No Knock. I'm actually quite impressed with a lot of it, and I'm slightly surprised to say that they're actually doing a far better job than many new melodeath bands that are popping up.

The drumming surprises me in quite a good way as well, because I've always thought of All That Remains as just another band with average level of drumming. That isn't the case here at least, and while most of the stuff that is played is fairly basic the blast beats are strangely rhythmical, coming in sets of three or four at a time but always equally distanced apart. Everything played on the kit also seems to work itself together very nicely and it fits the rest of the band equally as well.

I'm not such a big fan of the vocals, and although I can tell that Philip Labonte is a decent singer, I don't particularly like the way that he does his job. He reminds me too much of so many other whiney metalcore/emo singers, especially because of the soppy lyrics that he's singing. Granted, I'd rather he sang than growled, most of the growls actually falling more in line with angry shouts or screams in a typical metalcore fashion. The backing vocals don't really help the cause either and just add another layer of screams or whines.

Normally the amount of chugging that's coming from the guitars here would put me off majorly, but something about the way that All That Remains perform them makes me actually not mind them at all. I'd still rather that they didn't involve chugs, but they're easily bearable here. Maybe it's because the leads tend to feature over the top of the chugs, but I can't say for sure. There are a few annoyingly noticeable breakdowns that get in the way, but they're less of a problem than I'd feared that they would be.

About the song Tru-Kvlt-Metal though. That song deserves a special mention for being a complete facepalm moment. It's intended to be a joke aimed at the elitists that only listen to stuff that's 'trv' or 'kvlt', which I'd completely agree with if it wasn't for the fact that this song happens to be the worst song on the entire album. It's the kind of thing that I had momentarily believed that they'd left behind on A War You Cannot Win. Plus there's the fact that the band completely ruins the point that they're trying to get across about metal not needing to be brutal or whatever by making this song one of the heaviest on the album. Well done guys.

Other than a few minor issues though I find that The Order of Things is actually pretty solid. They've surprised me given the nature of their last release, and to be honest they'll probably surprise you too. Maybe not everyone's cup of tea, but I found this album to be rather enjoyable.