Review Summary: I wish I was free of this
It hasn’t been the best of times for All That Remains. After the massive success of The Fall of Ideals
, the band decided to go for a less aggressive, more radio rock-oriented style of metalcore. Overcome
and For We Are Many
were met with lukewarm reception, but they weren’t offensively bad by any means. Hell, there were some pretty catchy tracks off of both albums. But then, things went downhill with 2012’s A War You Cannot Win
. The album as a whole dragged on for far too long, and many of the songs ended up sounding monotonous and uninteresting due to the lack of creativity. So, you’d think after a significant amount of backlash from their fans that All That Remains might try to steer themselves back on course, right" Well, after listening to The Order of Things
, I can definitively say one thing: it’s actually not as bad as I expected.
You see, going for a poppier, more simplistic sound isn’t the problem. It’s far from it, really. The main reason why The Order of Things
is such a catastrophic failure is because the songwriting is abysmal. The album actually doesn’t start off that badly, with a decent piano intro on the ironically-titled opener “This Probably Won’t End Well”. However, from the second the guitars and vocals come in, everything falls apart. There’s almost no variation on the instrumental side of things, with individual songs becoming almost impossible to decipher in the ocean of generic guitar chugging, power chords, repetitive drum patterns, and the occasional guitar solo that sounds like a half-assed version of something that should’ve been on A War You Cannot Win
. It’s made even worse by Phil Labonte’s cringeworthy vocal performance. Whether it’s the overproduced, nasal, obnoxious clean singing or the ear-grating, downright pathetic harsh vocals on “No Knock”, it’s hard to believe this is the same man who sang and screamed pretty damn well on This Darkened Heart
and The Fall of Ideals
. The lyrics are laughably bad, with lines such as ”I'm fucking superman, so come on over and check my plan”
and ” Stop with the fighting/I know it's the right thing/I won't let you do this/We have to get through this”
As if all that isn’t bad enough, the album is almost ten minutes longer than its predecessor, making it even more tedious to listen through the damn thing. And herein lies another major issue with The Order of Things
: it’s boring. There is not a single song here worth remembering or even remotely devoting your attention to, because they all sound almost exactly the same. Sure, maybe they’ll try throwing in a ballad every once in a blue moon to make it seem like they’re actually adding in some sort of variety, but even that gets old after a while. In spite of all that, though, the final nail in the coffin for The Order of Things
is the fact that even the band don’t seem to understand exactly where they’re trying to go with the music. The harsher moments with run-of-the-mill metalcore riffs and breakdowns seem to imply that they’re trying to go for a sound more reminiscent of The Fall of Ideals
, but then there’s the ridiculously oversaturated clean vocals that come in and give the opposite impression, and vice versa. This makes the experience not only astoundingly uneventful, but awkward and inconsistent as well.
All-in-all, The Order of Things
is dull, lazy, uninspired, uninteresting, bloated, nonsensical, stupid, and a chore to listen to. Even the most diehard All That Remains fans will be left in utter bewilderment at the colossal failure that the band has created. Instead of taking a chance to try something new and at least slightly impress those who were disappointed by A War You Cannot Win
like Killswitch Engage, they decided to beat a dead horse straight through the ground. If there’s one positive about the album though, it’s the fact that it can make literally any other album sound much better than it actually is.