1 of 1 thought this review was well written
Note: This is my first review. Have mercy.
At All Cost is an experimental metalcore band from Austin, TX. They've been playing shows for several years, and released an EP on the Fiddler Records imprint... The Imprint. After a failed, unreleased full-length on said label, they signed over to Combat Records for this album. For a full bio and to download a few songs off the album, go to http://www.purevolume.com/atallcost
At All Cost is
Andrew Collins - Vocals, keyboard
Trey Ramirez - Guitar, vocals
Mike Theobald - Guitar
Bobby Andrews - Bass*
Grant Anderson - Drums, percussion
*Bass on this album was done by Eric Powell
duh duh duh... track-by-track.
1. Death to Distraction
Starts off fast and loud, and you are soon introduced to an interesting aspect of the album: the use of a vocoder. It sounds weird when described, but actually fits the music strangely well. Some rhythmic guitar continues until about halfway through the song, where a quiet, jazzy section starts, complete with vocoder. Afterwards, a pretty standard breakdown, followed by a nice melodic guitar part to finish up. The lyrics are highly political, and generally set up a thesis statement for the primary topics of the album.
2. The Formula
Some fast double-bass near the beginning makes for one of the more "metal" moments on the album. This is complemented by more shredding, and a more hardcore rhythm. Then comes another vocoder section, which makes the sound very ethereal. One of the stronger tracks on the album.
3. Human Now
Lots of chugging, but with an ample amount of melody as well. The vocals start to get into death grunt territory quite frequently. This is by far the most metallic song on the CD. However there's still plenty of experimentation. After a soft clean/vocoder part with funky guitar, vocoder is used throughout the majority of the song.
4. Polish the Nightmare
Melodic song, with a sort of alternating scream/yell portion near the beginning that reminded me somewhat of Unearth. There is also a guitar solo, that while not extremely technical, fits the music well and actually complements the melody. There is yet another melodic vocoder part near the end, which ends this track well.
5. Right Now
The hardcore influence really shows on this song. Fast, with a very catchy chorus. Even with the chugging, melody is always maintained. The breakdown has a strong Gothencore feel to it, with a chugging guitar part doubled by the double bass. The ending portion is repeated several times, then goes to ambience. Afterward, this section is repeated again, only with very deep death growls, which I think may have been aided by more vocoder effects. Definitely a stand-out track.
A slower, more melodic song. There are no screamed lines, only vocoder and clean vocals throughout. Slightly repetitive, but it also isn't very long, so it doesn't grow dull. Not the best, but still a decent track.
7. Noches Desesperadas
A short instrumental with a bit of a latin or tribal feel, complete with bongos and shaker. There is something being said in the background, but it is virtually incomprehensible, as it is very soft and distorted. Somewhat of a filler track.
8. The Irony
Quickly kicks the tempo back up from the last track. It has a bit of a "live" feel to it, thanks to various announcements made by Andrew, apparently to the crowd. Continues the melodic-yet-chugging nature of the rest of the album. Very catchy in parts, with good breakdowns and choruses.
9. This Pen
Another great track, and, in my opinion, the melodic high-point of the CD. Starts with a melodic line and continues into a more rhythmic portion, which is broken by a vocoder portion with female vocals. From here on out it's highly melodic, with some insanely catchy and anthemic choruses. Then suddenly the bottom drops out and finishes up with a great breakdown.
10. The Hook
This track would be quite similar to others on the album, but for one thing: the lyrics. While almost every other song deals with socio-political issues, this one is much more sensitive, dealing with love on the road. The music is also very nice, but not quite as unique as the subject matter, with many riffs sounding similar to other parts of the album.
11. It Burns Black
Another instrumental, although much better and more musical than "Noches..." It makes extensive use of slide guitar effects, and generally feels very bluesy. Some keyboard partway in takes up the melody and keeps the song from getting repetitive. This is later picked up by a violin, which sounds very nice, given the instrumentation. The whole thing is very ambient and brings the record down a few notches after the energy of the last few tracks.
12. The Return
Another fast, hardcore song. Keeps going along this line, and after a breakdown goes into the more melodic portion of the song. After this, there is a vocal break, crescendoing into a scream that just makes your hair stand on end. Definitely a standout track, even just for sheer energy.
13. What is Left to Inspire?
Kicks off with a very catchy guitar riff that repeats underneath the vocals for a while, before the melody is handed off to the vocoder. After a break down and more melody, the song quiets down into a portion with clean guitar that is actually quite beautiful. After a break, there is a crescendos into a near apocalyptic crash, then finishes off with a classical guitar and violin outro. A very fitting end to the album.
What is Left to Inspire?
+ A definite breath of air into the stagnating genre.
+ Lots of variety.
+ Lyrics are well written and have substance, even if they may be perceived as a bit whiny.
- The album is a bit short.
- Some may not be too fond of the extensive use of vocoder and other electronic effects.
- Occasionally feels more like a collection of songs and less like a cohesive album.
Overall a great album, with only a few flaws. 4.5/5.