The Pirate Bay introduced me to All That Remains circa 2008.
It actually happened in a more complex, funny kind of way, so for any label rep who thinks that scorched earth promotions is the key to get people’s attention, well check out this Discovery. (Spotify Discovery are you reading as well).
I got into Killswitch Engage because the bass player in a band I was in liked em, so I asked him to give me some of their music. He burnt me “The End Of Heartache” and I dug it. This was circa 2005. The hardcore screamo vocals didn’t set my world on fire, but the melodic vocals sure did, the way the songs were constructed hooked me and the music is melodic and heavy at the same time.
Suddenly I am seeing interviews with Killswitch Engaged founder, guitarist, producer and songwriter, Adam Dutkiewicz in the Guitar mags. And Adam produces other bands. Unearth, As I Lay Dying and All That Remains came into my headspace because of Adam.
So almost three years after getting into Killswitch Engaged, off I went to TPB, typed in All That Remains and their catalogue from start to 2008 was available.
And the first track on the “Overcome” album (released in 2008) is called “Before The Damned”. It’s brutal death metal in the verses and when the Chorus kicks in, its arena rock. I was hooked straight away. “Two Weeks” from the same album is their most streamed song with over 40 million streams on Spotify and 26,644,942 views on YouTube.
In 2010, “For We Are Many” came out and I liked it, but I didn’t commit financially until the 2012 album “A War You Cannot Win”.
Opening track, “Down Through The Ages” has some of the best thrash metal riffage (along with some deep growls)
“So many fall away” indeed. The most likeable kid at school has bi-polar now and looks like Crusty The Clown, all because of too much drugs. But he’s made it, while others have either spent time in jail or hanging on the end of a rope or struggling to breathe, surrounded by carbon monoxide.
Check out the lead break. It’s a hum a long, until the whammy dive kicks in.
“You Can’t Fill My Shadow” has a lead break that keeps me coming back.
“Stand Up” is pretty accessible, with clean tone melodic vocals throughout and great riffage throughout. Stand up and be proud of the choices you made.
To me, this song is a big FU to the people who criticised the band for bringing in some melodic rock influences into their songs. Well if it wasn’t for those influences, I wouldn’t be a fan.
“Asking Too Much” is another hard rock song, easily digested. “Just Moments In Time” is brutal and heavy, with screaming death metal vocals and lyrics which state, “We are all just moments in time, We come from nothing and we’re nothing when we die”.
“What If I Was Nothing” is almost country’ish in the intro, but a hard rock relationship song in the end. Super melodic, with 24.6 million streams.
“Sing For Liberty” tells people to take back their freedoms.
“A War You Cannot Win” has so many lyrical lines that resonate.
One voice can silence the masses, One voice just scream these words say, No, hell no
“The Order Of Things” was released in 2015 and this album is very accessible for people who like hard rock music but don’t like too much hardcore style vocals or death metal style vocals.
The piano line intro in the opening track “This Probably Won’t End Well” reminds me of the Paradise Lost “Draconian Times” album, albeit for 45 seconds. Then it’s back to the hard rock/metal that All That Remains does well.
“The Greatest Generation” is a favourite, with a lyric of “remember what made us great”. And we have forgotten that.
“For You” is personal, about a relationship breakdown, and that lyric line of “I won’t wait for you”. “A Reason For Me To Fight” is about making a promise to fight for something you believe in. “Bite My Tongue” has this Jazzy style breakdown which I dig, and when Phil starts singing, “You’re Right, You’re Wrong” it’s time to bang that head.
My favourite track on this album is the closer, “Criticism And Self Realization”. For starters the title hooked me, so it was the first song I listened to. And after that 45 second clean tone intro, the metal arrives. And the verses are heavy with hardcore style vocals, while the Chorus is melodic and emotional. The whole thing connects instantly.
And at 3.20, it goes back to the clean tone intro and it feels like the song is repeating. But it’s not. Its segueing into a new section. And from 4.20, that clean tone intro becomes an outro, with harmony guitars and then lead guitars. By 5.12 the loudness is replaced by a piano, which is playing the same intro music, but slower, sadder, more solemn. And I just want it to continue. But by the 7 minute mark it’s over.
Since, 2015, they released “Madness” in 2017 and “Victim Of The New Disease” in 2018. After the release of this album, founding guitarist Oli Herbert (who also laid down some wicked soloing and riffage on Dee Snider’s “For The Love Of Metal” album) was found dead in a pond. While early reports suggested accidental drowning, an investigation is still pending for foul play.
And I am glad that vocalist Phil Labonte (also the back up Five Finger Death Punch singer when Ivan Moody goes off the rails) is carrying the All That Remains flame.
And with this post, the record vault for the letter A ends (at this point in time) and I am onto the letter B. My kids reckon I won’t get to Z.