After about a billion shows with a million different bands over the last couple of years, ALL THAT REMAINS has finally kicked out a new album, "The Fall of Ideals". An incendiary live act, the already tight musicianship seems to have been honed further this time. As far as metalcore goes, ALL THAT REMAINS have always been one of the more accomplished bands of the genre, and the increased use of clean vocals and contagious melodies has made "The Fall of Ideals" an improvement from its solid predecessor, "This Darkened Heart".
Though in now way an expansion of the form, on the new album ALL THAT REMAINS effortlessly blends thrashy twin guitar fireworks and Phil Labonte's raging vocals with soaring clean vocals and overall tunefulness. One could choose to call much of the material on "The Fall of Ideals" formulaic, but it is a formula that usually works. Songs like openers "This Calling" (the first single) and "Not Alone" are undeniably memorable, both real scorchers from a heaviness standpoint and both immediately catchy. By the time the disc arrives at track five, "Whispers (I Hear You)", the formula does begin to wear a bit thin, but only because it becomes an expectation, not because there is anything patently wrong with the music. But then "The Weak Willed" hits and breaks from the formula by staying largely with a heavy delivery and harsh vocal style. The track does include a clean vocal in parts, but it works more as an enhancement of the song dynamics than any kind of heavy-to-melodic format.
What may get lost in the incessant banter about formulas and trends is the sheer intensity and talent of the musicians, led by the white-hot playing of guitarists Mike Martin and Oli Herbert. There is no denying that those guys play their assess of here and the result is immensely gratifying. Drummer Shannon Lucas is a war machine as well. Along with bassist Jeanne Sagan, the rhythmic power of the duo is undeniable. Topped off with a crisp and thunderous production by KILLSWITCH ENGAGE's Adam D., "The Fall of Ideals" will do nothing to redefine metalcore, but it is an enjoyable listen nonetheless.