All That Remains – Madness (Eleven Seven Music)
Genre – Heavy Metal / Hard Rock
Massachusetts five piece, All That Remains, land with their eighth studio album, Madness, and frontman Phil Labonte describes it as ‘All That Remains likes you’ve never heard them before.’
In a career spanning nearly 20 years, All That Remains have dominated the rock charts, selling over 1.5million records and achieving numerous top ten singles.
During this time their sound has remained consistent, which big, powerful, heavy sounds being the order of the day, but Madness blows that model apart, as ATR deliver a brilliantly balanced album that mixes their trademark electric noise with powerful acoustic sounds.
Opening with Louder, the hard working metallers opt for a very traditional heavy metal style, driven by Labonte’s vocals, shredding riffs, pounding drums and a fist pumping, chanting chorus filled with venomous growls.
The energetic opener paves the way for the fully charged Open Grave, which is filled with all the classic sounds you expect in a metal / metalcore track – fast technical guitars, a double bass drums and roaring vocals straight out of hell.
Labonte claimed that Madness would blow people’s minds, and while the first two tracks are extremely strong, they’re far from mind blowing, but the title track turns that around. With rip roaring axe work, huge drum patterns, electronic blends and pitch perfect vocals, Madness is arguably the album’s stand out track, and will likely be another top ten scoop for All That Remains.
Over the years All That Remains have received their fair share of criticism from metal heads who believe they have sold out in pursuit of commercial success. While Madness is the more musically diverse and intriguingly brilliant track on the record, it is likely to disappoint fans of their heavier work.
Those disappointments will surely be short lived as tracks like Safe House and Nothing I Can Do offer the full throttle, blistering array of aggression that moshers want to hear. The inclusion of these dark, belligerent tracks on an album that’s not overly heavy show that All That Remain recognise what their audience want to hear, and although they are pushing boundaries, they know where the line is.
Like the majority of modern rock / metal albums, Madness takes a top heavy approach. The pace or ferocity is lost and replaced with a much slower, radio friendly approach in tracks like If I’m Honest and River City. Despite the seemingly radio friendly style, the latter half of the album is the more genuine side of this record, with Labonte speaking of his struggles with dealing with his not hearing from his wife during her oversees service with the marines.
With this mix of heart pouring honest and the experimentation of news sounds, All That Remains have managed to deliver an extremely balanced metal album that will appeal to fans across the board. Fans, journalists and other musicians continually cry out for something new, and ATR have delivered that. They’ve challenged their listeners, they’ve pushed the boundaries of metal and they’ve delivered a stunning eighth studio album.
RUSHONROCK RATED 9/10 An honest, boundary pushing, modern metal album.