All That Remains
Overcome

After having a great interview with All That Remains vocalist Phil Labonte a couple of days ago and discovering him to be a super nice dude, and a superb live performer to boot,  it sucks that I then have to turn around write this less than complementary review. Granted, I knew how I felt about the record while I interviewed him, but wanted to wait until after I saw the band live. But after seeing the band shortly thereafter, then giving Overcome repeated listens to see if it ‘clicked’ after the band’s live renditions of 4 of Overcome’s songs, nothing changed. Sorry Phil, the fact remains, this album is pretty limp.

Not bad, just limp. There’s still oodles of Oli Herbert’s and Mike Martin’s dueling riffs and supine solos, and new drummer Jason Costa is a steady less predictable force behind the kit that Shannon Lucas (who is far better suited for The Black Dahlia Murder), and fireplug bassist Jeanne Sagan is there (though a fierce stage presence). However, even with the fine guitar work, it appears that All That Remains and mostly Phil Labonte have decided to take All That Remains in a very commercial, mainstream direction.

While This Darkened Heart and The Fall of Ideals, even with Labonte’s clean croons, were solid, solid records, Overcome just comes across as far more clean, accessible and directed towards singles and sales. Not that All That Remains have sold out, as they have always been one of those fringe American metal bands capable of cracking the mainstream while retaining their metal cred, but on Overcome, the album is back loaded with tracks that scream for radio play and a ‘please like us’ feel (despite Phil telling me they wrote a record the album that the five members wanted and it wasn’t for the fans).

Things actually start fairly promisingly with the teasing opening rumble of “Beyond the Damned”, but once the chorus kicks in, you know exactly where the track is headed. Then “Two Weeks” cements the feeling with virtually all clean vocals, the list of sugary, verse/chorus tracks that litter the album goes on, despite the sumptuous guitar work: “Undone”, “Chiron”, “Forever In Your Hands”, “Days Without” and even a semi ballad, “A Song For the Hopeless” and “Do Not Obey”. All catchy, sing a long numbers, with standard scream verse, sing chorus-if you like that sort of thing, but frankly even the verses seem sapped of the great energy and zing of the last two albums. “Unrelinquished” and the title track are desperate, short attempts to deliver something stouter, but closing cover of Nevermore’s “Believe in Nothing” cements the album’s overall vibe. And the thing is, overall, this is the basic formula that made the last two albums so solid, but here its like the metal has been dumbed down and the commercial factor turned up. Phil’s clean vocals are super clean and the production is super clean, it’s like All That Remains simply lost their bite and arguably sounds more commercial than Killswitch Engage.

Overcome may have been the album All That Remains wanted to make, but I think the fans may be pretty disappointed.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
October 7th, 2008

Comments

  1. Commented by: stiffy
  2. Commented by: Staylow

    Erik – that is the most dead on to my views review that I’ve ever read – good job.

    Compared to the last two (especially The Fall of Ideals), this is a HUGE disappointment – one of the years biggest outside of that abomination In Flames just released, IMO.

    That Do Not Obey song has the most ridiculously dumb chorus I’ve ever heard – it makes me cringe every time.


  3. Commented by: swampthang

    eh nu metal kids posers and tubby girls like this stuff.


  4. Commented by: Staylow

    Wrong. Maybe some, but not all. ATR WAS one of the best metalcore bands around, but after this, not so much. Maybe next time.


  5. Commented by: Red

    Not a bad review at all, but…. even though I tend to agree with E.T. most of the time I do think this is a better album than given credit for. Yes it does seem a little bit more commercial, probably because they fall into the “lets have every chorus done in clean vocals” category, but the songs are still catchy, the production is good, and the guitar work/solos of Oli & Mike are once again a highlight. I agree that this album could be more “mean” but in the end who cares, it’s still enjoyable to me. Anyways…..it’s still a good review, keep up the good work. Now, will sombody get me a fuckin’ Benediction review, my album must be trapped in postal office purgatory or something….


  6. Commented by: Adam Childress

    I enjoyed this review, I completely agree.

    This album just sounded lackluster to me, and to be honest, phoned in.

    It sounded like a pop album at times, and it just really didn’t suit them that much.

    I would agree that they are sounding more commercial as time goes on, and I would say that Killswitch isn’t as commercial as this album.


  7. Commented by: Dimaension X

    The album makes Cryptopsy’s “The Unspoken King” seem like Album-of-the-Year.


  8. Commented by: Desperado

    ^^^Hahaha,and I am a pretty devote Cyptopsy fan.


  9. Commented by: slushhead

    I suppose the music ain’t bad on some tracks, but the soft, clean vocals just kill me. “Two Weeks” just makes me shake my head in disappointment. Where is the ferocity? I will not listen to this.


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