Review Summary: "A War You Cannot Win" Cannot Win My Attention.
So, over a year after All That Remains released "A War You Cannot Win", I finally decided to see for myself if their latest album was as forgettable as everyone says it was.
My assessment? The people were spot on. Completely. Utterly. Forgettable. Aside from "Stand Up" (which is about the only decent song on this album), I could not remember one song on this album that I found my self nodding to, unless you count the times I nearly nodded off to sleep. Their drummer, Jason Costa, is on record stating that: "This is a very guitar, very melody-oriented album. It wasn't very rhythm-based at all. I would just say it's metal; it's a metal album." Huh?! Did he listen to this album? The lyrics are juvenile, the guitars are under-utilized, and the songwriting is beyond lazy. It is so disheartening to see Oli Hebert's guitar skills and Costa's superb drumming take a backseat to Philip Labonte's overused clean (dare I say almost pop-style) vocals and lyrics that would be comfortably at home on a Backstreet Boys song (the horrendously written "Asking Too Much" comes to mind).
But worst of all? The complete and total lack of interest. This album has no soul, no heart, nothing even remotely resembling effort. Even the songs about calling people to action seem completely checked out. And it's such an odd thing too; for a band that hooked me on "The Fall of Ideals" with its memorable yet complex melodies and kick-ass guitar solos, they sure went to great efforts to tie a millstone around their career and jump ship into the forgettable void known as mainstream rock. Not that the band seems to be noticing (or maybe they're in denial; see the quote above). I have to know: how?! How, for a band that is clearly bursting with musical talent, can they be happy about such a phoned in performance?
I tend to lend my ears to music that has honest effort backing it. And even more than musical acts like Justin Bieber (I can't get as mad about anything he makes because, while there's little to no effort involved in his music, he doesn't have much talent to begin with.), it really grinds my gears when bands produce music like this in spite of the enormous amount of talent they're packing. "A War You Cannot Win" is just lazy. Pure and simple. And such a shame too; this is one of the bands that got me into metal in the first place. It pains me to bash a band that has given me so much. But it is my firm belief that art would have no integrity if we didn't call artists out if they forgot their purpose and started churning out work for the sole purpose of earning money instead of for the love they bear their craft (and thank God that there are still artists out there who love what they do). Thankfully, at the end of the day, I will always have "The Fall of Ideals".