Review : All That Remains - For We Are Many
PopmattersOne simple lesson learned four years ago has now paid off hugely for All That Remains. While the majority of its early 2000s peers, including Unearth, As I Lay Dying, and Shadows Fall, have since struggled to take their music to the proverbial “next level”, the Massachusetts band has done so with resounding success, all because it figured out that even in metal one little hook can make all the difference in the world and can catapult a group from as also-ran to mainstream success. Already an accomplished act prior to 2006 thanks in large part to their ability to fuse New England metalcore and Swedish melodic death metal, they still needed to separate themselves from the rest of the pack. Their third album The Fall of Ideals did just that, as vocalist Phil Labonte added some startlingly good clean vocals to offset his already effective hardcore scream, all without compromising their heaviness and technical dexterity. Coupled with a bevy of songs with enormous hooks, the album went over huge, far outpacing the sales of the band’s previous records.
While not quite the watershed moment that The Fall of Ideals was, 2008’s Overcome was nevertheless a very worthy follow-up. Producer Jason Suecof played up the band’s heavier side more, while at the same time the album yielded a pair of genuine active rock hits in “Two Weeks” and “Forever in Your Hands”. There aren’t many bands who can hold their own alongside their extreme metal peers and still fit right in on the Warped Tour or alongside a band like Disturbed, but All That Remains have pulled that off over the last four years with ease, and the longer they go on, the better they become at seamlessly meshing both sides in their music.
Such is the case with For We Are Many. Although they’re back with The Fall of Ideals producer Adam Dutkiewicz, the catchy side of the band is actually downplayed even more this time around. Not that they’ve given up on melodies entirely, but, instead, those melodic payoffs are more subtle, making room for some considerably more aggressive fare. A case in point is the opener “Now Let Them Tremble/For We Are Many”, which sees the quintet in full At the Gates mode, with guitarist Oli Herbert tossing out nimble, melodic riffs atop a furious thrash backdrop and Labonte providing more guttural death growls than we’re used to hearing from him. “Some of the People, All of the Time” is dominated by off-kilter tempos reminiscent of Gojira and some flashy staccato riffing before devolving into a doom-inspired coda. The melodic chorus on “From the Outside” is less an audience sing-along and more an understated melody that offsets the melancholy arrangement tastefully....full text
Ultimate-guitarSound: With its fifth studio album, We Are Many, All That Remains once again excel at dishing out metalcore goodness, but it’s the moments that the arrangements take unexpected turns (ones that don’t necessarily bear any semblance to metalcore) that the record becomes the most intriguing. At the heart of it all is the nimble, beautiful execution of lead guitarist Oli Herbert, who steals the show every single time he lays down a solo. We Are Many thrives on its energy and rhythmic power, but there are moments when you crave a little something more than the typical death/growl vocals and chugging guitars. There are certainly no complaints on the production as a whole, and credit should be given to producer Adam Dutkiewicz (better known as the guitarist for Killswitch Engage), who has crafted a sonically tight record all in all.
The opener “Now Let Them Tremble” is short and sweet, taking the form of a brief interlude more than anything. Although there are death vocals included, the 1:19 song is meant more of a dramatic buildup of sorts with vibrant double bass pedal and driving lead guitar harmonies. The song transitions quickly and abruptly into the title track, which is one of the most aggressive numbers of the 12 selections. The arrangement features some cool use of vocal layering, the always-reliable rhythmic chugging, and one of Herbert’s many amazing solos.
While breakdowns aren’t necessarily a staple of every track, “Some of the People, All of the Time” is a standout in this area. You almost wish All That Remains might take a few moments to not necessarily regurgitate breakdown after breakdown, but to stray from the usual verse-chorus-verse layout that relies on a heavy helping of double bass pedal and the growl-to-clean vocal structure. That doesn’t mean use a breakdown in every song, but it worked effectively in “Some of the People, All of the Time.”
There are more than a few highlights, particularly in “Dead Wrong,” which morphs into a slow, grooving Pantera vibe when the chorus arrives. The band not might not appreciate losing its identity with this comparison, but honestly the Dimebag-tinged chorus worked well for the song. “Won’t Go Quietly” has crossover appeal due to its emphasis on a particularly strong melody, while “The Waiting One” features an acoustic beginning and a more hushed vocal approach that makes for a much-needed change of pace. While it’s understandable that a metalcore band doesn’t want to lose momentum with an album saturated with mellow ballads, “The Waiting One” is a standout because of its core songwriting more than anything. // 7...full text
TheprpIn the early 2000’s metalcore explosion Massachusetts quickly became the epicenter, launching the careers of Shadows Fall, Unearth, Killswitch Engage and of course All That Remains, among numerous others. Such close proximity, often paired with the identifiable production habits of Killswitch Engage guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz, led to a sound that was instantly definable by region.
However, it was Killswitch Engage who were to become the reigning kings of the genre and All That Remains who were seemingly left to always be next in line. With the latter outfit having moved towards more melodic territory on recent albums, much criticism has been leveled at them for being the musical equivalent of Killswitch Engage’s hard rocking kid brother (Dutkiewicz once again helms the production here.) If anything “For We Are Many” essentially finds the band owning up to that title.
The searing technically oriented riffage and ruthless barks and screams are served as mere entrees to the often radio rock oriented choruses and the bland ballad driven instrumentalism that accompanies them. It’s readily apparent that the group are perpetually driving towards some grand melodic payoff and a few ripping solos or crushing breakdowns are hardly enough to mask that eventual conclusion.
In fact, the only real unexpected moments on this album come in the form of the deathcore bellows featured on “Some Of The People, All Of The Time” and the Richie Sambora-like soloing featured on “Won’t Go Quietly“.
To be fair “For We Are Many” exhibits the bands refined chops but that’s not to say it makes any real use of them. The groups abilities have certainly improved but often seem wasted on the predictable songwriting and overwrought sappiness of the cleanly sung choruses. These thinly veiled attempts at cracking the commercial rock radio market aren’t necessarily poorly written, so much as they are overused and entirely commonplace....full text
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