Review Summary: A solid effort from All That Remains but they still need to take it to that next level to be a real contender.
All That Remains - Overcome
All That Remains' got a brief taste of success with their third album, The Fall of Ideals
, which was praised among many. It featured excellent musicianship from guitarist Mike Martin and Oli Herbert along with singer Phil LaBonte showing off his outstanding vocal variety. That record was considered a milestone for the genre of metalcore, but it was only rated decent as a "true metal album" for a lot of metalheads, which makes expectations high for their forth studio album, Overcome
. Most bands in this situation either take their sound up to a new level or tone things down a bit. All That Remains have done a little of both on this album.
One of the most noticeable things when you first listen to this record is how different the production is. This is their first album without Adam Dutkiewicz behind the production board and this time around they hired Jason Suecof (Trivium, Bury Your Dead, God Forbid) for the job. LaBonte's death grunts are as strong as ever but his clean vocals sound much louder and polished than they did before. While his clean vocals add an extra punch to the chorus', his voice sounds like it's lacking a lot more emotion and power. LaBonte still sounds great and he transitions from shrieks to grunts to singing very well but those who have heard songs like "Tattered On My Sleeve" and "The Weak Willed" may be disappointed.
The band's sound is still primarily metalcore but there are a lot of signs of progression and diversity in many areas. "A Song For The Hopeless" being one of the most notable, with it's soft intro and verses leading into a brutal chorus making one hell of a track. The closing track is a cover of Nevermore's "Believe In Nothing" which is different than anything the band has ever done before. It's a slow paced ballad where LaBonte sings with a very soft voice for most of the song. It might take you a few second to realize that you're still listening to All That Remains on this song. Either way, it's a very bold track that will generate mixed results. There are still plenty of great guitar leads and solos from Herbert and Martin. The guitar solos are top notch as always and there is one in nearly every song so those who are fans of their guitar-work don't need to worry about that being gone. New drummer Jason Costa also does a great job filling in for departing drummer, Shannon Lucas, which is a big hole to fill.
The two heaviest songs on the album are "Relinquished' and the opener "Before The Damned." Both are typical All That Remains songs only the new production shows off in the chorus of "Before The Damned." The somewhat radio friendly "Two Weeks" follows it, this is pretty different from what fans might be expecting for a couple reasons. For one, there aren't any death grunts or screams aside from a few layered vocals in the first verse, and this song just screams "radio friendly" which isn't what most expect from All That Remains. Thankfully, it's a catchy track and rather enjoyable. Another lighter song is "Forever In Your Hands," which starts off well but it lacks power in the chorus, especially with the incredibly cheesy lyrics. The formentioned "A Song For The Hopeless" and "Believe In Nothing" are the only other ligher songs on the album. The rest of Overcome
is full of hard-hitting songs like "Chiron," "Do Not Obey" and the title track. The heavier songs are done in standard All That Remains fashion. heavy verse, clean sung chorus and a solo from Herbert. Only LaBonte's clean vocals are used more frequently and the chorus' stand out a lot more. Not to say re-using the same formula is bad. Like some say, "If it' ain't broke don't mess with it."
is a step forward and a step backward for All That Remains. It's clear they want to take a step away from metalcore since they nearly mastered it on The Fall of Ideals
. There are some signs of progression but they are still mainly a metalcore band. Too many bands have tried to break away from metalcore before and ended up making a medicore or bad album in the process. Thankfully, this isn't the case here because Overcome
is a solid release. The main flaws are how the over-production drags down some of the songs. It's good that they want to branch out and try new styles but seem to be more comfortable playing their own style of music since the heavier songs are the strongest ones on here. A solid effort from All That Remains but they still need to take it to that next level to be a real contender in metal.
Favorite Tracks: Relinquished, Before The Damned, A Song For The Hopeless, Chiron