Since Phil Labonte's departure from Shadows Fall in the late 90's, he has since gone on to fulfill his own musical ambitions with the band known as All That Remains. This band, while actually similar to Shadows Fall in many ways, proves to be a slightly less heavy and technical version of his past work. Teaming up with his fellow Massachusettsers or whatever the hell you call it, the band has recieved their own success as another band in what is known as the New Wave of American Heavy Metal. They've only been in existence since 1999 and have only released two albums (I can't even find a record of any demos).
The opener, And Death in My Arms
, is probably the best. With a nice acoustic intro, we are quickly introduced to Phil's voice, which has definitely made a few changes since his Shadows Fall days. It rolls on pretty well with some cool riffs and the speed of blast beats making it a good track showing all their elements. There's some weird screaming in the background that sounds like someone's dying (:confused:), but then again, they are from New England. There solo seems to be played by both guitars simultaneously and is a not-too-fast unique sound, untill the full solo comes. It's fast, sounds great, and accents the music wonderfully. Too bad it's short. The single The Deepest Gray
follows. Many of you have probably heard it. It begins instantly and introduces us to the clean singing style of ATR. It's not bad - works with this track at least. The verses are choppy sounding and tugh to stand but the chorus section gets smooth and a much needed breath of fresh air. The guitar solo is one of the weirdest I've ever heard. It sounds a little forced, but goes on and isn't too bad. It's just really odd sounding in the beginning.
The band gets more speed oriented with Vicious Betrayal
. If it's not moving quick it's a really flowing sound that has more stand-outish guitar riffs (sounds good). Phil tries to do a higher pitch screaming half way through (as well as other parts) which mixes things up a bit. Nice guitar solo, much better than the last track. Afterward some more tortured screaming is heard in the background. I Die in Degrees
is the heaviest so far with the guitars sticking to mostly the heavy riffs...untill... It breaks into a slower section with some melodic tapping (maybe just hammering - too lazy to really find out) action. Nice thing to add to a track like this. The solos are quite emotional. The song contradicts itself ultimately, starting off heaver and shifting to more melodic. But anyhoo, Focus Shall Not Fail
is next, the token slow song. The reasonably paced guitars sound dark. There some heavy riffs throughout the lengthy intro (the song by the way is almost six and a half minutes). It's the longest song and gets pretty brutal when Phil comes in sounding like he's going to give himself an ulcer. Some more clean singing is featured, which sounds much better than the singing in the Deepest Gray
. Don't skip this song, it's a great listen if you're into the genre. Excellently written all around.
Proceeding we come to Regret Not
. Every song needs an instrumental filler. For those who haven't picked it up, this is that song dumbass
Once again there's an acoustic intro. It's not bad. I've heard better, and this really isn't much to write home about. Seems a little repetitive and never really gets going. Oce they find their way to the electricity, the song unfolds into another highlight. The melodic riffs are some of the better ones I've heard this side of the album. The solo in the intro doesn't help a whole lot, but it's worth hearing anyway. Passion
is pretty good right from the get go, producing riffs in a similar structure to Regret Not
. It stays consistently good with Phil and whoever the backing vocalist doing his clean thing together. Good stuff. The solo runs pretty steady. Good, but not the best on the album. For Salvation
sounds dark and starts immediately with Phil and more speed. The entire song is based around this sound. It works pretty well. The clean singing stands out blatantly. Whoever it is sin't bad. The quick break is cut short by the familir sound established in the beginning. A similar structure is followed throughout the entire track.
Tattered on My Sleeve
follows...are they trying to sound like a Death Metal band? Because the intro suggests that. Phil shoots the idea down - his screaming brings the song to a more relaxed and recessed sound. It rolls on steadily with the occasional guitar matching his vocals in an interesting way. It breaks into an acoustic section half way through. That throws everything off. It was completely uncalled for and confuses me in the middle of an otherwise good song. Another good guitar solo is featured, yet quite short. The track ends quite emotionally with singing and some melodic instrumental work. The record becomes history after the title track This Darkened Heart
. It's prett slow starting off and is based around the vocals. The music is similar to And Death in My Arms
but does a good job of not sounding recycled or repetitive. The track is short and is slow for the most part aside from the obvious palm muted guitars and double bass sections. Not a bad track and for some reason a fitting close for the band's second release.
Aside from Shadows Fall, this band has proven themselves decent within the NWOAHM. They also sustain a sound that is heavy yet melodic with enough technicality to keep it from sounding bland. Phil's vocals are an acquired taste. They took me some time to get used to, but in time I'm sure you'll come around. This album has several not-too-special songs, but there are also some insanely good songs to bump it up a notch. It will be nice to see what becomes of these guys as time goes on and their style progresses.
And Death in My Arms
I Die in Degrees
Focus Shall Not Fail