Artist: All That Remains
Review by Steve Jenkins
Despite what your opinion of metalcore is in 2017, the fact that is has stuck around for so long and become an increasingly popular genre for young bands to try and endeavor is something to be admired. Back in the early 2000's when metalcore was at its highest peak with bands such as Killswitch Engage, Shadows Fall, Unearth and Atreyu dominating the world of metal with their success. The end result was a massive influx of new bands trying to follow this new trend and now it is clear why metalcore is still around and one of the most popular sub genres of metal.
All That Remains are one of those aforementioned bands that were part of that explosion of acts over 15 years ago. At their highest peak with the 2006 album The Fall Of Ideals, everything that they released after that career defining album wasn't as well received by fans or critics.
This new album, Madness, is pretty much a continuation of what they've been releasing for the decade without any further growth or innovation. While not completely horrible, there are some moments on this album that shine through and bring back memories of their former greatness. It's a weird mixture of catchy song-writing, spiraling riffs and powerful drumming but then almost devalued with boring, uninspired and repetitiveness. Track like "Madness" and "Open Grave" have some excellent and well-executed riffs to get the momentum going, but then they're ruined with generic and unnecessary electro sounds and ill-fitting and awkward singing that belongs on a country album.
What's most annoying is just when you think something great is about to happen, a classic case of over-editing and mass production kicks in totally devaluing the potential and overall sound. Like on the track "Nothing I Can Do" when vocalist Phillip Labonte lets rip one of his trademark screams but then is completely shifted and ruined thanks to distortion and electronic garbage.
Whilst still quite popular among fans and being eight albums into their fifteen year career, of course you're going to experiment and change sounds. It's something that is almost a must-do if a band wants to succeed and progress with their musical career. So, if it means adding more clean and melodic choruses, electronic elements and a softer side then so be it. But completely throwing everything out the window such as the heaviness and more harsher moments that made All That Remains so popular to begin with is a bit of a letdown.
I guess it seems that this album is an attempt to give the 'stadium-rock' approach a go as it seems to have worked for bands such as Bring Me The Horizon. But the quality of song-writing on Madness just isn't there and sadly this could be the demise of a band that could definitely be so much more. I expect the new Nickelback album to be better and heavier than this.
4 out of 10 stars.
Madness is available now via Razor & Tie Records, iTunes, Spotify and all good music retailers.
Check out the video for the track "Madness" below: