THE ORDER OF THINGS
ALL THAT REMAINS
I feel like I have to preface this review by revealing I'm a really huge fan of Phil Labonte and company. I've been fortunate enough to run into the band on several occasions in the past and see the band at it's humble beginnings all the way up to the Fall of Ideals album. They are great to their fans and regardless of what you may or may not feel about Labonte's opinions on politics he's a hell of a metal vocalist.
Back in the Nineties Labonte was the frontman of another popular western mass band SHADOWSFALL. I picked up their first album in a hole in the wall record store John Dwyer of Pathos Records sold his metal cds through. It has become one of my favorite albums over the years. The dual vocals of both Labonte and Matt Bachand really made that album a diverse thrash classic with a lot of haunting melodies. How does that relate to the album I'm about to review?
Well folks, each ATR album is as diverse as the next and this one has a whole lot of melody. Haunting? No...positive and uplifting? Yes
The first three tracks I heard off this album were a real indicator that the band was expanding on their sound in a big way. No Knock is as heavy as they've sounded in years. A track that lyrically brings to the forefront the issue of law enforcement and the fourth amendment. This Probably Won't End Well sounds like a great transitional break up song that could be paired with Last Time off the "For We Are Many" album or What if I Was Nothing off the "War You Can Not Win" album. Tru-Kvlt-Metal really takes their mixture of clean/harsh singing and melody to newer heights which in it's darkest moments brings to mind the strained vocals of SIX off the "Fall of Ideals" album.
I was extremely excited to hear this release with those three tracks already committed to memory and I'm glad to say as a fan of the band since it's inception I am not disappointed.
Divide, The Greatest Generation and For You are lyrically and melodically driven tunes that focus more on songwriting than pummeling. This trifecta forms a nice barrier between the brutality of No Knock and A Reason For Me to Fight where Oli Hebert really flexes his muscles in satriani'esque flourishes throughout the riffs and scales.
Victory Lap has a great rock feel. It has a bouncy and upbeat rhythm. It's one of the bands most scaled back songs ever committed to tape.
Pernicious is a standout track with nice balance of groove and instrumentation throughout. Jeanne Sagan showcases her chops on bass and lends a hand on backing vocals. It's rhythmically one of the best tracks on the album.
Bite My Tongue is another track that defines how far this band has come musically since Fall of Ideals. Upbeat and powerful riffs and chugs. The percussion is on point. Just listen to that jazzy interlude? Listen to that bass? Highly efficient and effective playing on this by all members.
Fiat Empire turns the heat back up on the heavy. The riffing on this so freaking great! Martin and Hebert are an underrated rhythm section. Labontes vocal range on this so crazy as he reaches almost Brian Wilson'esque heights on the chorus and descends into the depths of hell for those crazy screams he's famous for.
ATR finishes out the album with a nice acoustic intro on Criticism and Self Realization that transitions into a beautiful mix of brutality and melody. The range from vitriol to uplifting is incredible.
My overall concensus is that this album is a very solid one. While not nearly their heaviest it may be one of their most cohesive and balanced. I've read that Phil Labonte wasn't as proud of their last album as he had been of his previous efforts. I think this one will sit very well with the frontman and the long time fans like me who have enjoyed the great musical path All That Remains has taken us on. Big ups!