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All Else Fails: Fucktropolis

There's a really funny episode of Chuck where one of the characters imagines that Buy More—a large electronics retail outlet—is like a country he calls Buy-moria. I won't go into further discussion of the episode, save only to suggest that the joke seems to depend on the notion that many people are so caught up in their jobs, their day-to-day routine, that they seem like empires.

This EP by All Else Fails has nothing to do with Chuck, but I'm pretty sure that some of the same ideas here depend on similar kinds of thinking. What would happen, a spoken word introduction asks, if the current make up of the human population were shrunk but still reflected the same statistical components concerning race, class, education, gender, etc. that exist today? I've actually heard the same monologue elsewhere; I think it was something that was spread around several years ago. The point, though, is that the world is more and more divided between the haves and the have-nots and that there's reason to be concerned when greed prevails.

I obviously don't want to go on and on about all this stuff, but I do admire thoughtful thematic and lyrical ideas and find that All Else Fails has lots of interesting things to say. I was surprised, however, that the lyrics on this EP often resisted the idea of transcendence, suggesting at one point that "truth never comes from above." I admired the overall trapped feeling of the album, but wondered just how to feel after realizing I live in a wasteland. If the music (and the words) is supposed to reflect hopelessness, the state of being trapped by the conditions of the world, then it succeeds quite well. Musically, things are alternatively aggressive and calm. All Else Fails plays a variety of metal that sounds an awful lot like metalcore, but it's one that pushes aggressively against the largely clichéd songwriting style that genre suggests. I was impressed with the eclectic quality of the music, though I preferred the times when the band played in a straight-ahead heavy style. Check out tracks like "Better Left Undead" and "Obedience at the Altar of Sacrifice" for strong examples of this band pushing themselves into hard and aggressive sounds. I was less impressed with the mellower, more melodic passages, mostly because they sometimes didn't fit the overall mood of the album. I don't have anything against alternating things like this, but I sometimes think the extremes are too stark and need more nuance.

On the whole, this is a solid selection of songs from a band poised to gain more attention.

Track Listing:
1. AntiMartyr
2. Better Left Undead
3. La Demencia Violenta
4. Obedience at the Altar of Sacrifice
5. Most Unwanted Reprieve
6. The Deep Roads (Hidden Track)

Added: August 1st 2013
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 2286
Language: english

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