Anthony Morgan of Metal Forces recently conducted an interview with drummer Jason Costa of Massachusetts metallers ALL THAT REMAINS. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
On the band's latest album, "A War You Cannot Win":
Jason: "This is a very guitar, very melody-oriented album. It wasn't very rhythm-based at all. I would just say it's metal; it's a metal album. We've got some heavy songs on there, some heavy, groovy songs on there. We've got some fast, heavy songs on there, we've got some more radio-friendly, melodic songs on there. It's typical ALL THAT REMAINS, really, but we've definitely stepped up the musicianship there and the writing. It's becoming more polished, a bit more refined. I've been in the band for six years now, so the band's been a solid unit for six years. Whereas there've been a lot of membership changes in the past and everything, everyone's been gelling more. Not that they hadn't in the past or anything, but getting to know everyone better and the chemistry coming together more and everything just really helps a lot."
On whether ALL THAT REMAINS differ much between albums:
Jason: "When I joined, they already had most of the material written for 'Overcome'. The last album, 'For We Are Many', and this album seem to be pretty much the same. There are melodic songs, there are fast songs, and there are heavy songs. It's kind of the same. It's not heavier or less heavier, or faster or slower. If you compare all of the songs, they're pretty much the same. The only album that was ever a little bit different from the rest I would say was 'The Fall Of Ideals' [July 2006], which was written in a very rhythmic kind of way. Previously the band had a drummer [Michael Bartlett] that couldn't play a lot of double-bass on 'This Darkened Heart' [March 2004]. When they got Shannon [Lucas] who then joined THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER afterwards, they loved the fact that he could play double-bass. They wanted to just have every song with tons and tons of double-bass in it, because they weren't used to it. It was like a new thing for them to play around with, so they wrote mostly every song around these double-bass patterns. If you go back and listen to that album, most of those songs are written to double-bass patterns. After that though, they didn't wanna write the same album again. Sometimes kids will come up, and say 'Why don't you write another album like 'The Fall Of Ideals'?' To answer that question, that's because we already wrote 'The Fall Of Ideals'. [laughs] I wasn't in the band, but when I joined the band, I thought it was gonna be like 'The Fall Of Ideals'. I was psyched, because I love playing double-bass. I'm actually one of the people in the band that fights to keep everything as heavy as possible, much to everyone's dismay sometimes. [laughs] That was a little bit different, but now they want to explore other things. Most of the members have been in the band for years and years, so sometimes you don't wanna play the same thing all the time. It's nice to branch out, Phil [Labonte, vocals] using another style of vocals and Oli [Herbert, guitars] and Mike [Martin, rhythm guitars] exploring other avenues as far as melodies go in songs, and stuff in different tempos. I know that was an amorphous, vague answer to your question, but that's how I feel about all that. It's a big question to ask."
On frontman Phil Labonte not liking touring Europe:
Jason: "Phil's kind of a hermit. He likes to stay at home, and likes to be around things that he's familiar with. That's just him. Just because you're in a band doesn't mean you're not subject to the same sort of mental issues that everyone else in the world is. [laughs] You're still a human being, and you're still gonna have your opinions and stuff like that. He's not saying that to be mean. He'd really rather be home around things that he's more familiar with, and be able to read street signs and understand people rather than have to filter something through an accent. He's not being a jerk by saying that; he's just being honest. We're definitely going to tour Europe still. If he didn't wanna go to Europe, he's our singer. We couldn't just go without him, so we'll be in Europe soon and that's proof positive that fans shouldn't take that at all in any personal way."
On whether Phil Labonte likes the band's European fans:
Jason: "Are you kidding me? What he thinks are our best shows ever are… I can't remember… Like Malmö (Sweden), and Finland. We've had some amazing, amazing shows over there, and he's gotten offstage glowing, saying 'Oh my God. That was the best show ever’. It's the fans that make it the best show ever."
Read the entire interview at www.metalforcesmagazine.com.