All That Remains seem to be the band that everyone either loves or hates. There is no gray area, especially from my fellow music critics.
There’s something ironic in this industry such that when a band evolves or changes without getting heavier it means it has sold out. Yes, I absolutely love what All That Remains did on The Fall of Ideals, and I think we can all agree that the album really established their sound and brought them to the forefront of the genre at the time. Their blend of harmony and razor-sharp riffs is catchy and addictive, and they just happen to use it more frequently on their newer albums. They write songs with hooks and memorable choruses, and that has made them one of the biggest bands in metal. It’s time to get over it, get over the fact that they aren’t going to re-write an album that’s almost 10 years old and that they enjoy what they are currently doing. They tapped Josh Wilbur (Lamb of God, Gojira) to produce their new album, The Order of Things, after four albums with Killswitch Engage‘s Adam Dutkiewicz at the helm, and he has brought out different aspects of their sound that haven’t been utilized before.
The album opens with a brief, haunting piano interlude, then goes into “This Probably Won’t End Well.” It’s a great intro chock-full of hooks and sing-along lyrics. “No Knock” is exactly the opposite. It’s raw, heavy, groovy and testosterone-infused. Vocalist Phil Labonte shows us he still has power in his vocals. “Divide” is a harmony-laden, hook-filled song, utilizing, for the first time, bassist Jeanne Sagan‘s vocal harmonies alongside Labonte’s, and they sound great together. “In The Greatest Generation” nods to the generation that helped build this country through blood, sweat and old-fashioned hard work. “For You,” my favorite here, might be the best ballad All That Remains have ever written. It’s deep, heartfelt and dark. “Pernicious” is an all-out ass-kicker and highlights what they do best, from clean harmonies to Labonte’s trademark growls to Sagan’s cool vocals. “Bite My Tongue” really showcases the interplay between Sagan and Labonte, and it’s another song that is destined for tons of radio airplay. “True Kvlt Metal” is a burner that is filled with walls of riffs and a great balance between clean and growling vocals. Guitarists Mike Martin and Oli Herbert really show their experience here and throughout the album, trading off licks and playing tight together, like they know what each other are thinking before they actually do it. “Criticism and Self Realization” bring the album full circle, exiting with a haunting piano outro. This song really has vocalist Labonte looking in the mirror. It’s heavy and groove-oriented.
All That Remains have put together one hell of a good album. It’s truly an enjoyable listen from beginning to end.
The Order of Things is out February 24 on Razor & Tie Records. Pre-order it here!
SkullsNBones Rating (Out Of 5):
All That Remains Jason Costa Jeanne Sagan Mike Martin Oli Herbert Phil Labonte Razor & Tie Records