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All that Remains – The Order of Things

allthatremainstheorderofthingscd

I heard it all before
all the rumors and the whispers
I don’t listen anymore
Every time I rise, you fall away
-Victory Lap

This album will hit you like a sledgehammer and you will say thank you. All that Remains has been one of the biggest metalcore bands for years now but this is the first album by them that hooked me from the start. I listened to it on Spotify, bought it on CD (yes, they still exist) before the week was out, and it hasn’t left my car player in a month. Yeah, it’s that fucking good.

I’m pretty picky about metalcore. I don’t tend to be a huge fan of the genre but this album is so melodic it overcomes my usual prejudices toward screaming vocals. I really like Killswitch Engage but mainly their middle albums with Howard Jones. I did enjoy the newest album, in particular “In Due Time” and the blistering “The Hell in Me”. Why that wasn’t the end-credit song in the Evil Dead remake is a question I ponder fortnightly. But I digress.

When it comes to screaming vocals they definitely have to hit a sweet spot for me of being the right tone. Too high pitched or screechy and I immediately tune out. All that Remains singer Phil Labonte goes between singing-growling-screaming with ease. It’s impressive as hell and even more so that it’s all him, no trading off with another member for the intense stuff. Also, the dude is 40. Well done, sir.

The guitar work from lead Oil Herbert and rhythm Mike Martin is outstanding. Same with the drumming by Jason Costa. Every song is musically diverse with catchy hooks and great solos, notably “Victory Lap”, “Bite my Tongue” and “True Kvlt Metal”. What I really dig about the album is the positive message in a lot of the songs. “Divide” is about not listening to your own self doubt. “Victory Lap” is about telling the haters to fuck off. “The Greatest Generation” is about, well, your grandparents and great-grandparents. In theory it should be cheesy but is so damn earnest it ends up being a really good song.

If there is one down side its more toward the band’s future than anything to do with this album. Jeanne Sagan is not only an impressive bassist but she provides backing vocals on a lot of the tracks. This lends several of the songs a bit more depth – especially the ballad “For You” and shredder “Pernicious”- and the feminine touch helps set All that Remains apart from a lot of other bands on the scene. After the release of this album Sagan left the band and is being replaced by Aaron Patrick (formerly of Bury Your Dead). I can’t help but think the next release is going to be less interesting simply without having her on it. Time will tell.

The only song I really don’t like is also the heaviest one on the album, “No Knock”. It’s the only all-screaming vocals song but that’s not my issue with it. It’s just a really boring song. When the rest of the album is so diverse an average song stands out even more.

Hard rock and metal fans should dig the hell out of The Order of Things. It came out spring of 2015 and if I had heard it before now it would probably have been near the top of my favorite 2015 albums. Don’t waste any more time, you owe it to your ears to put All that Remains in them immediately. Just rest up your vocal chords, you’re going to need some stamina during those upcoming commutes.

Essentials: Other than “No Knock”, every damn song on it. Especially “Victory Lap”, “Bite my Tongue”, “This Probably Won’t End Well”, and “A Reason for Me to Fight”.

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