Review Summary: An almost consistently good, but never great album.
I guess I missed the memo, because I was pretty late on the The Fall of Ideals
bandwagon. And I was never fully on it anyways; if anything, it was like I ran for the bus, realized it was the wrong one and got off. Shit
ty analogies aside, I liked The Fall of Ideals
, but unlike a lot of folk I never really fell in love with it. Yes, it was occasionally great, but it was never consistently good. Even while the album was defined by its rollercoaster highs and lows, there was something
has the opposite problem. It's nearly consistently good but never really great.
The first thing I noticed on Overcome
was the vocals. Phil Labonte still has solid control over his harsh vocals but they now more often than not come with a hint of exhaustion and wear to them. He sounds tired and his harsh vocals seem tattered as a result. This makes for an awkward contrast concerning his moderately improved clean singing. With Jason Suecof handling production duties this time around (instead of Adam D.), the clean vocals sound far less processed and computerized, but they're still fairly glossy. They're also still subpar, but the point is the contrast between tattered screams and boyish cleans is, like I said, awkward. Of course to go through this member by member would make the review read as over-comfortably as the album plays, so it is far easier to simply point out Overcome
's overwhelming adequacy. If The Fall of Ideals
was a slalom, Overcome
is cross-country; sure, there are heavier tracks (Before the Damned, Relinquish) and softer ones (A Song for the Hopeless, Believe in Nothing) but they're all par for the course. Even when the quality between tracks falters, it never feels like a major drop-off. I could say "Chiron" is an obvious highlight but then in passing, I'd mention the absolutely terrible "Believe in Nothing". Of course the blame can't be placed entirely on All That Remains for "Believe in Nothing"; a cover of a Nevermore track, the song is a hypothetical "what if" pairing of Good Charlotte, Alice and Chains and the Backstreet Boys, only with a fittingly Nevermore-esque self-indulgent, hair-blowing-by-a-fan guitar solo and a thick layer of fuchsia coloured provolone. I guess that makes it rotten.
You could actually make the argument that, quality aside, "Believe in Nothing" is a fitting metaphor for the rest of the album. In place of the band's near-flawless imitation of the original, Overcome
is All That Remains doing the best impression of themselves. Like a truly polished cover band, the notes are all hit without compromise and the sound is dead-on, but something's lost. Overcome
ends up sounding unsure of itself, at times coming off like a b-sides companion piece to their previous albums and at other times sounding like a band trying to hold onto their integrity as they make a dash for radio. Taken at face value, Overcome
is more than enjoyable. The hooks are moderately memorable and sugary-sweet, and the instrumental work is downright impressive (the solos and drums being the most imperatively above-average). The Fall of Ideals
was a promising metalcore album with undeniable staying power. Overcome
is but a grain in the sand on an oversaturated desert; a metal album you'll enjoy while you play it but won't ever be something youâ€˜ll yearn to hear. Plus, it seems to lend itself to absolutely porous analogies. I'd call it a sophomore slump except this is their fourth album. Take from that what you will.