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Article for the week of 11/6/08


Overcome, by All That Remains (CD Review)
By Cozmic


Ever since Atreyu decided making music with a point and everything was getting in the way of large monetary gains and became the brand new boy-band on the market, All That Remains pretty much surged to my personal top of the metalcore genre (they're heavier than Atreyu ever was, too).
The latest endeavour by Phil Labonte, Oli Herbert, Mike Martin, JeanneSagan and Jason Costa could have turned out pretty bad. The band says they like to release the heavier stuff from a new album first, and the first single, Two Weeks, was rather much of a shock in that regard, as Labonte never growls a single time in it. Had yet another band turned soft, or at least softer, as the music was still heavier than anything Metallica ever did? As it turns out, they'd released two tracks on their MySpace page beforehand, just to brag, but I missed those and was skeptical about this whole thing.
Well, fortunately, the heavy drums and technical guitar work that start the first track, Before the Damned, quickly laid most doubts to rest (one of the tracks that made the rounds at MySpace). Slower than the band used to be, granted, but not everything has to be shredding all the time, and heavy things can move slow as well. While there might be melodic and clean singing on a larger part of the tracks than previous, the mix has always been one of the strengths of the genre, and this slightly different ATR pull it off.
Two Weeks follows the opening track by basically being yet another great tune to start off with, with a guitar riff that they have either ripped from somewhere, or one that is just so obvious and charming it seems that way. One could wonder why it sounds like Phil is singing into a walkie-talkie or something, but I can disregard any potential differences between what I and the producer Jason Suecof think sounds the best in favor of a good single that probably don't scare people away as much as, say Before the Damned might do.
Undone brings back the fast and aggressive, followed by the almost obligatory break-up song, Forever in Your Hands. Calmer, softer, and still so totally metal!
The guitar playing is flawless, the drums amazing, and Phil's voice sounds more sincere than ever in the deeply personal Days Without, followed, to my incredible surprise, by something that can best be described as a ballad. And A Song for the Hopeless, unlike in ...And death in my arms from years back, the calm holds on for almost a minute, before being interrupted by heavy. The sheer will to fight prevails the entire song, going from sorrow to power, and the end result is nothing short of stunning.
Then it seems the band got bored of the depressing stuff and went straight to politics (the maddening stuff) with Do Not Obey, followed by some good-ol' fashioned anger in Relinquish (which compensates for Two Weeks by being all-growl), to be ended up the title-track of Overcome, a song that tries it's best to tie the album together, and be both heavy and soft at the same time. The lyrics are quite clever in their internal references to Chiron, Days Without and Forever in your hands, and the song on its own is quite amazing, but it doesn't stand out quite as much as an ending track should, because this feels like the end. Or it might simply be that the whole thing contains so much energy I don't want the album to stop, or that it simply should not end after something so meekly at 2:32.
Apparently, someone else noticed this error and decided a cover of Nevermore's Believe in Nothing, with Labonte once again showing his voice and Sagan showing that she actually can be heard over the din, was the solution. The track is flawless, but feels so much like a cover, they've done nothing really different from the original, and it lacks that certain All That Remains edge, which is a shame on what is otherwise a fantastic track which does leave the album with a good finish.. I just wished it had fit in better with the track before it.
All in all though, Overcome is one of those albums that blow you away. The soft meets the heavy, and the sound of the two crashing into one another is both beautiful and liberating. Four horns up!




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