You can hear it within the first 10 seconds of “Before the Damned” on Overcome, the fourth album from All That Remains. After re-listening to the previous albums I thought it was going to be the further dilution of the band’s sound into a washed out puddle that killed the record. But nope, as soon as the Overcome starts I remembered exactly what the biggest problem was.
Your Honor, the Prosecution calls to the stand Mr. Jason Suecof.
Overcome is the first ATR album not produced by Adam Dutkiewicz of Killswitch Engage, and as a result it’s a sterile sounding album, restrained and innocuous. Suecof’s production takes all the bite out of the riffs and leaves in its place a tinny, high end that robs the album of any bass, and leaves the drums sounding like lifeless and programmed. The solos continue to be the blessed beast they’ve always been, but the chords they sit upon are dialed in for maximum squeakiness. Coupled with some of the band’s most toothless songwriting like “Forever in Your Hands” (a song whose chorus I’ll still sing the hell out of) and “Days Without,” Overcomes comes off as whitewashed and forgettable, stripped of everything that made the band enjoyable for me.
Almost. Despite everything I wrote above, and my inability to remember 80% of the record after just hearing it, I’ll believe to my death that “Two Weeks” is one of the best modern rock songs ever written, with a hook so damn catchy I get goosebumps whenever I sing along to it. I hate, HATE that such a good song is marred by this shitty production, but it’s a testament to how good “Two Weeks” is that it overcomes (*rimshot*) Suecof’s attempts to wring all the life out of it sonically. I think a large part of the reason I love it so much has to do with perspective: when I sing it aloud I feel like I’m singing it to myself. My brain omits the parts of the song that explicitly show Labonte is singing to a departed lover, instead constructing a mirror image. I’m alway thinking it’s the mirror singing to me, telling me that inside I haven’t given up on myself, even as I don’t listen and walk away.
Gotta love depression, right?
Anyway, really can’t stand Overcome. But I’ll love “Two Weeks” until the day I die. What does that say about me? Probably something similar to how a lot of people are: I’ll construct my own reality to support my beliefs, even if those beliefs are painful and potentially harmful to myself.
Go figure…all that from a mediocre All That Remains albums.