I picture All That Remains sitting in a dark room, having just finished another show where attendance was maybe…less than optimal. Heads down and sweaty, they’re deciding what the next step is when a slick dressed and well-fed gentlemen enters, exclaiming, “Hey! Maybe do a little more with those clean vocals and homogenize those lyrics so you’re not alienating folks!” He leaves, the scent of cash wafting in his wake. Enter Overcome.
Haha, that’s tomorrow’s review. Instead the band takes all that advice to heart in a way that doesn’t suck at all and gets The Fall of Ideals, my vote for All That Remains’s best album.
With The Fall of Ideals Labonte stepped up his vocal game big-time, creating huge hooks with those clean choruses (one of his tricks is to double the choruses with his death vocals, mixed down enough to be subtle but present). Lyrically things also take a step forward, with the band moving onto innocuous, uplifting and chest pounding anthems of overcoming adversity, with only a song or two (most notably “Whispers (I Hear You)” resorting to petty “she done me wrong I’ll call her a whore” theatrics to appease the bros out there.
But despite knowing how simplistic the platitudes are (something Muse excels at, as we’ll see) when a song like “This Calling” or “Not Alone” comes on I’m 100% in, singing along and banging my head as if this is exactly what I need to hear for these three and a half to four minutes. Musically once again the band is completely on point, everything ridiculously tight and Herbert’s solos even better than they were on This Darkened Heart. When they get heavy on something like “The Weak Willed” Labonte matches them with a variety of vocal inflections, from screeching back metal rasps to deep death metal growls and that clean gritty voice that’s going to become the dominant force for at least the next decade of the band’s music.
The second half of The Fall of Ideals largely mimics the first half, although I’m always thrown for a loop when I see “The Air That I Breathe” and it’s not this song:
I can’t remember why but I owned this Alien album on cassette as a kid. Maybe even for this song. Chalk it up to the follies of youth.
Anyway, I’m not afraid to say that when The Fall of Ideals hits those hooks I fall right into it. All That Remains haven’t yet gone overboard, the production is nice and thick, and those solos can go on for days.
If only it had lasted…