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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.