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All That Remains – Victim of the New Disease

All That Remains
Victim of the New Disease
by Britney Twilley at 18 December 2018, 8:44 PM

ALL THAT REMAINS has come a long way since 1998 when they first formed in Springfield, Massachusetts. They have experimented with different styles over the course of their nine studio album releases. Their first album was melodic death metal, and while the production was lacking, the music itself received positive reviews. However, by their fourth studio album, they changed their sound, receiving much criticism for opting for a mainstream rock sound leaving behind the technical heavy metal riffs in favor of simple, catchy melodies. Many fans felt they had sold out.

However, their ninth studio album released November 9, 2018 shows another shift in their style. “Victim of the New Disease” has something for everyone. Unfortunately, my attempt to review this album will be overshadowed by the tragic death of lead guitarist and founding member Oli Herbert. The band is dealing with much uncertainty currently, both musically and personally. The death of Herbert is still being investigated by the police as possible foul play. Per his wife on Facebook, his cause of death was drowning with toxicology showing antidepressants and sleep aids in his system, neither having been prescribed to him. Trying to move forward, the band has recruited Jason Richardson (former BORN OF OSIRIS and CHELSEA GRIN) to take Herbert’s place on tour.

The first song on the album, “Fuck Love” is an angry, aggressive, heavy song filled with strong double bass work throughout and strong riffs, unleashing some of the most thunderous licks on this album. Labonte’s vocals are exhilarating – the hate filled growls and screams, especially at the end, sound like he is trying to expel a demon from within. This ending is a great juxtaposition to the next song, “Everything’s Wrong”. Many have cited the first lines of this song as eerily prophetic – "I don't want to write this, cause if I do it might be true”. The song starts out with lone guitars which mingle with one another as they build upon each other. The underlying weight of bass and drums balance the steady momentum of the song. Labonte’s vocals throughout envelope the listener with rich depth.

The third track, “Blood I Spill” shifts back to the heavy riffs and fast paced double bass drum work. Throughout the song and especially at the end, Labonte’s layered high screams and gutturals are extraordinary. This song shows that while they returned to their early sound, they have grown and are implementing a new level of creativity. Track four, “Wasteland”, is a well-balanced song having gutturals and screams alongside a slower singing chorus. The singing vocals are heavily KILLSWITCH ENGAGE influenced. Midway through the song, Herbert graces the listener with an impressive guitar solo, which breaks up the song at the right moment, allowing it to move into a sludgy breakdown. The drums change with each section, supporting the music without overshadowing. They use a time change from 4/4 for most of the song into 6/4 on the chorus creating a dynamic feel, showing their creativity and development.

“Alone in the Darkness” is a very heartfelt and haunting song. The lyrics are emotional and the way Labonte sings with such a dark, bluesy feeling adds to the sensitivity of the song. Parts of the song are very singsong in nature which aids in making the song catchy. “Misery in Me” pulls the listener out of the sorrow of the previous song, hitting hard with fast, driving drums and energetic riffs. Labonte’s vocals move back and forth from screams to cleans in the chorus creating an optimal balance. Again, Herbert shines with a dynamic guitar solo backed by pummeling drum work.

Skip forward to track eight, “Just Tell Me Something” featuring Danny Warsnop (lead singer for ASKING ALEXANDRIA). The two singers together create a duet like dynamic. The vocals in this song are stellar. This song is followed by “I Meant What I Said”. The song starts out with a sludgy tom groove which then transitions into a supportive role providing structure for the vocals. Unfortunately, this song is lacking in lyrical content and quickly becomes very repetitive. The music of the song is interesting, though, especially the end which features a shift from a straight feel to a triplet/swing feel with the drums moving to a sextuplet pattern. The music finishes with a simple keyboard piece backed by atmospheric sounds, creating an eerie feeling.

This eerie feeling is quickly extinguished by the last song of the album, “Victim of the New Disease”. This song features catchy guitar riffs, fist-pumping chants, and ruthless drums and bass. While momentarily moving to a singing chorus, the song quickly dives back into metal intensity.

“Victim of the New Disease” is the album to finally pull ALL THAT REMAINS out of a decade long lull. This album is incredibly diverse with something for everyone from those who loved the “old” ALL THAT REMAINS with their melodic death metal to those who enjoyed their mainstream radio friendly hard rock.


Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Memorability: 7
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Fuck Love
2. Everything’s Wrong
3. Blood I Spill
4. Wasteland
5. Alone in the Darkness
6. Misery in Me
7. Broken
8. Just Tell Me Something feat. Danny Worsnop
9. I Meant What I Said
10. Victim of the New Disease
Lineup:
Philip Labonte – Lead Vocals
Oli Herbert – Lead Guitar
Mike Martin – Rhythm Guitar
Aaron Patrick – Bass, Backing Vocals
Jason Costa – Drums
Record Label: Razor & Tie Records
     


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