Review Summary: A no-nonsense slab of ancient metalcore which remains relevant to this day.
Metalcore has come a long way since the late nineties; a meteoric rise in popularity and the advent of slick computer-enhanced production values has created a seemingly unstoppable monster. These days, if a record sounds poorly produced, then it probably indicates a conscious intention by the band or producer to create something which sounds raw, unpolished, authentic
. Over a decade ago, however, the metalcore landscape was a somewhat different vista, with even the most influential and popular bands struggling to make a living through music. This distinct lack of funds - along with the obvious inexperience that infuses any newborn genre - is reflected in the sound quality of many records of that era. Can early metalcore offer anything to new generations of hardcore and metal fans who have, for the most part, only been exposed to ‘perfectly’ produced music? Sadly, in some instances, the answer may be no; but there still some heavyweights from that forgotten era which have something useful to add to metalcore as it stands today, and All Out War fit that bill perfectly.
While metalcore may have been a truly underground phenomena in America twelve years ago, it was positively invisible in England and so For Those Who Were Crucified
landed with barely a ripple. Those few who were fortunate enough to stumble upon it were in for a rather satisfying surprise, though: a solid metal album with a wonderfully heavy, deeply textured backbone of drums and bass complimenting the resoundingly Slayer-inspired guitars and guttural, hardcore screams. Where Earth Crisis and Morning Again seemed like hardcore punk bands recruiting metal into their repertoire to add new flavour, All Out War were closer to the other end of the scale: a metal band that felt a need to express a deeper vitriol than metal alone would allow. And in an almost prophetic example of what the genre would become, they make their decidedly-metal metalcore offering a pleasure to experience. With a flamboyant use of Judaeo-Christian imagery the album flows consistently with a barely wavering quality infusing each song. Occasionally they make use of (whisper it) breakdowns, but rather than littering them throughout the record they instead meld them tastefully, often powerfully, into the music so that they become a part of a song’s fabric, rather than a fulcrum for everything else to revolve around.
Perhaps the greatest flaw within the record is its lack of ambition. There is some sense that All Out War could do more with their instruments but are happy to remain in what is, admittedly, a rather sweet spot. Their brand of metal does not reach for the thousand-notes-a-second that many bands now see as a rite of passage, and what some might consider consistency between their songs could, feasibly, be seen as a tendency to be somewhat samey. This might mean that For Those Who Were Crucified
will never be anyone’s favourite record; but what it can offer, to any modern-metalcore fan, is an antique which has stood the test of time and still remains fresh and strong enough to compete with the young pretenders that rule over the genre in this new age.
Claim Your Innocence
For Those Who Were Crucified