July 17, 2006 | | 4

All That Remains, The Fall of Ideals

When most bands get even a fleeting taste of commercial success they tend to restructure their entire sound around that one element in their sound that garnered the attention. Having, for the most part, been snubbed of any major commercial success attained by a few of their contemporaries, you would think that All That Remains would do what was necessary to get the green. Well, you’d be wrong.

Coming across as a bit formulaic a times, the latest release from All That Remains encompasses a few more cleaner vocals, but also incorporates some of the heavier and darker material the band has produced. Under the watchful eye of producer Adam D. (Killswitch Engage), vocalist Phil Labonte stretches his throat in directions that have increased his range and versatility — all the while putting him on par with some of the greatest metal vocalists of all time. I was impressed with his abilities on the band’s last release, This Darkened Heart, but after spinning The Fall of Ideals more than a few times it’s quite apparent that he is a much more matured singer.

Adding to Labonte’s new depths as a lead singer are the shredding guitars of Mike Martin and Oli Herbert. You’ll find plenty of classic riffs and soaring solos from these two guys. The rhythm section, drummer Shannon Lucas and bassist Jeanne Sagan, leave no doubt with a show of ferocity and intensity unrivaled in the metalcore genre.

This Calling
A tortured scream and double bass kick start the album into frenzied high gear. Labonte’s mid range growls are the default for most of the album with the cleaner, more melodic vocals used in choruses. As stated before, it is a formula, but it’s tweaked enough from song to song, keeping it a bit fresher than expected. It’s easily recognized why this is the band’s first single. The vocals soar at one moment and hit the depths of hell the next. Adam D.’s production and layering of the vocals really makes for a stand out sound.

Not Alone
Trading solos and a double bass attack lead into this next track. The cleaner vocals are a bit gruffer than on “This Calling.” Prepare to sprain your neck at about the 2:10 mark with an excellent stretch of brutal drums and growls.

It Dwells In Me
There is a bit of distortion added to the primary vocals on this one — just a hint of industrial grunge to them. It’s a nice effect without being overly distracting. You’ll find plenty of drumming insanity and classic soloing on this one. There’s even a bit of a mosh at the two minute mark accompanied with a slightly deeper scream from Labonte. I’m not sure if it’s Adam D.’s input or not, but there are instances on this track and a few others where Labonte sounds just like KillSwitch Engage’s original vocalist Jess Leach.

We Stand
I love the work that Labonte has done on his vocals. He’s hitting ranges that we never saw on This Darkened Heart. This is definitely an impressive showing from the front man.

Whispers (I Hear Your)
The fifth track starts off a bit slower before the drumming attack and gruff vocals hit hard. We finally hear that super deep, low end growl layered beneath the primary vocals. We were treated to it on a few tracks on the last album. They are a bit deeper now though and add a nice depth to the overall sound of the track.

The Weak Willed
Easily my favorite track on the album, the band abruptly switches from the “gruff vocals and clean chorus” formula with this much darker and brooding track. The deep layered low end growls we heard on “Whispers (I Hear Your)” are much more out in the fore front on this one, serving as the primary vocals as Labonte uses his mid range delivery for the chorus. The riffs on this one are much darker as well.

After that change in dynamics from the band’s main sound, they get back to the cleaner vocals. A song of heartache and anger, “Six” starts off with a Jesse Leach like scream and initial delivery. The drumming seems a bit more frenzied in the beginning on this one as well. In the guitar solos after the 2 minute mark I swear I hear the ESPN SportsCenter theme song. Da Da Duh. Da Da Duh. Weird.

Become The Catalyst
We’re treated with the deep guttural growl as the opener to this one. If you loved any of the songs off of Killswitch Engage’s Alive or Just Breathing, you will no doubt hear the similarities in this track. It’s a damn fine song.

The Air That I Breathe
Slick riffing and driving drums get this one going, carrying the momentum from the last song well. The chorus to this one is pretty damned catchy. Labonte shifts from growls to clean vocals quickly without missing a beat.

Empty Inside
The last song was the point for me in this album where the formula started to wear a bit. Thankfully the band timed this switch up nicely. The track is intense with insane blasts from the drums as well as some screeching mid ranged screams from Labonte. You’ll find no clean vocals on this one.

The final song on the album is actually a bit darker than most of the others. It’s pretty crushing in spots with double bass blasts from the rhythm section. It encompasses all vocal ranges found in the previous ten tracks, acting as a culmination of all elements as one final sledge hammer shot to the head before the CD ends.

~ ~ ~

There are a few pitfalls to this album, the main being the formulaic feel to a few of the tracks. Those however, are usually overcome with nicely timed change ups from track to track. The follow up release to This Darkened Heart, a favorite of mine, is a prime example of a band not taking the commercial success of their peers and injecting it into their own brand of metal. All That Remains have produced an album brimming with confidence, twin solo attacks from the guitars, double bass blast from the drums, and an impressive vocal range from front man Labonte. Add in the production work from Killswitch Engage‘s own Adam D. and you’ve got yourself an album that will stay in your rotation for quite a while.

Favorite Tracks:
This Calling
Whispers (I Hear You)
The Weak Willed
Become The Catalyst
Empty Inside

Additional Notes:
Packaging came with free demo CD from Prosthetic Records with tracks from All That Remains, Burn In Silence, Gojira, Through The Eyes Of The Dead, and Light This City.