Review Summary: Though it takes a turn towards "popular" generic modern metalcore, The Fall of Ideals demonstrates the biggest step yet in maturity for this young band.
So many so-called metalcore and hardcore bands rise and fall within a short time period these days, regurgitating the same styles and musical features as thier previous albums, eventually falling by the wayside as they succumb to new trends and disappearing interest amongst fans. Very seldom do they exhibit the growth, musically and lyrically, that it takes to be a truly talented and successful entity. Few bands, in my opinion, are like All That Remains.
Showing glimpses of talent, but a lack of songwriting ability on thier debut, Behind Silence and Solitude, the band truly developed into a far more mature songwriting capability on This Darkened Heart. The sophomore album, however, left fans yearning for a more complete release, showcasing the years of experience the band had gained and the bright spots from both albums. That release is The Fall of Ideals, by far the most impressive, albeit cliche, release to date.
The opening track, "This Calling", is a perfect example of the band's ability to finally bring it all together, though it may also prove to be a style which leads to the band's downfall. A combination of tight songwriting, fully-formed leads, and great lyricism combines with the new rythm section (ATR replaced both thier bassist and drummer on this album) to create a catchy yet moderately heavy single. It also showcases Phil's much-improved vocal range, both dynamically with the harsh vocals and quality with the cleans. This pattern is evident throughout the album, "Whispers (I Hear Your)" and "Six" being good examples of how the band has finally brought everything together beautifully.
My biggest complaint is that, while Phil's clean vocals have gotten astoundingly better, they are a bit overused in typical metalcore fashion. Perhaps this had something to do with the introduction of Adam D. (Killswitch Engage) as producer. While Adam is a great engineer, as a producer, he simply knows how to turn out an incredibly generic modern metalcore album. It is apparent that it seeped through into the ATR album, perhaps a bit too much. This is the only thing on this album which I think may be self-defeating. For such a talented and mature band to back themselves into the generic corner would be quite the disappointment, but in the days of producers and labels taking more creative control to avoid losing money, it would hardly be a surprise.
I believe salvation is still available for the band; they retain thier own brand of heaviness on my favorite tracks, "Indictment" (The solo here is simple yet hauntingly amazing) and "Empty Inside", as well as "The Weak Willed". These tracks show to me that the band is still capable of writing good, thrashy songs. Perhaps they won't give in to the genre on the next one; they have every capability of making the genre bend to them.