All That Remains
For We Are Many
11 October 2010
by Tom Dare
All That Remains are the latest band to try and persuade us that metalcore isn’t dying on its arse with worrying speed. As one of the pioneers of the formula, you would think that if even they can’t turn in a really top-drawer record, the problems are rather bad. Oh dear.
For We Are Many automatically has a head-start on most such albums. All That Remains have two attributes most bands will struggle to compete with: a frontman with a tremendous scream and a strong sense of melody for the choruses, and a lead guitarist who can shred and wail without becoming obsessed with showing how fast he can run up the fretboard. They still need to take this somewhere, however.
Metalcore’s problem has always been a lack of experimentation, quite happy just to throw Pantera’s groove into some 15 year-old Dark Tranquillity riffs and sprinkle in a poppy chorus and some breakdowns. At times, All That Remains sound aware that this recipe has been followed more times than even Nigella Lawson’s sauciest. For We Are Many does contain a few non-formulaic moments, with the almost deathcore-esque end to ‘Some Of The People, All Of The Time’ and the wah-ed lick that concludes ‘Won’t Go Quietly’ being two. These are ornamental moments though, ones that do not cover the fact that most of the time you could be listening to pretty much any New England metalcore record from the last decade.
Only on the excellent ‘Dead Wrong’ do they genuinely push things- a pounding, almost death metal verse section dives into a massively grooving Down-like chorus figure before Oli Herbert’s solo smokes. It is absolutely no coincidence that this, the most distinctive and original song on the album, is also the best.
Watch the video to ‘Hold On’ by All That Remains:
Most of the rest of For We Are Many is spent treading the same old paths. The band are obviously thoroughly competent musicians, and it is all very well done – the Gothenburg riffs are perfectly listenable, the melodic hooks are very singable and shiny and the rhythm section strong. Phil Labonte’s lyrics are sufficiently non-specific to allow you to put your own interpretation on them, but sound genuine rather than generic. But it all feels like a well-done version of something we’ve been hearing for years; it rarely does enough to stand out on its own merits.
There are some fine individual moments of very generic Massachusetts metalcore, but in the same way that the thrash revival is desperate for a few more bands willing to do something new with it, For We Are Many suffers from a lack of distinction by the band clinging to a formula that is starting to sound tired. They may be good at that formula, but when they break from it they instantly sound fresher and stronger. Hopefully that is something they will notice themselves.
Sounds like: Killswitch Engage, Shadows Fall, At The Gates (yet again)
Top tracks: The Last Time, Dead Wrong, Hold On
All That Remains – For We Are Many tracklisting:
Now Let Them Tremble…
For We Are Many
The Last Time
Some Of The People, All Of The Time
We Won’t Go Quietly
From The Outside
Keepers Of Fellow Man
The Waiting One