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All That Remains: A War You Cannot Win

For months now, I've heard several new albums that sound just like this one. I suppose there's nothing wrong with that; music does have identifiable genres, just like movies or novels or television programs. For some people, there may even be a certain joy in coming to expect certain features and discovering how creative people use them or make variations on them. The problem, though, is that metalcore is too predictable, a style that leaves me increasingly unable to distinguish the difference between one band and another. All That Remains does everything really well, but they don't stretch themselves too far beyond what's expected and established. I find that disappointing, especially since bands like this are obviously very talented.

On the more positive side, I was especially impressed with the general level of musicianship on this album. The guitar harmonies are especially strong, at times bringing to mind the amazing work of innovators like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. I thought the guitars were played with great quality and feeling. I think that listeners will enjoy "Calculating Loneliness," an instrumental track that highlights a softer, somewhat prettier side of the guitar. The other tracks are consistent in establishing strong riffs and in keeping things moving forward rhythmically and musically. To my ears, the title track was one of the strongest in this respect.

I was less impressed with the vocals and the lyrics. The trend of alternating between clean and dirty vocals feels tired. I much prefer the vocal styles of bands like Mastodon where the vocals are slightly growly and slightly clean, but always blended well with the music as a whole. The lyrics on this album often treat topics of loneliness and despair. The clean vocals on these tracks often take on a whiny, yearning, quality that I found too emotive. In the end, it works well enough, but I wish these guys would try something new.

Track Listing:
1. Down Through the Ages
2. You Can't Fill My Shadow
3. Stand Up
4. A Call to All Non-Believers
5. Asking too Much
6. Intro
7. Just Moments in Time
8. What If I Was Nothing
9. Sing for Liberty
10. Not Fading
11. Calculating Loneliness
12. A War You Cannot Win

Added: December 8th 2012
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 1839
Language: english

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