Review || All That Remains - "Victim Of The New Disease"

Earlier this year, when As I Lay Dying announced their Euro tour, I happened to witness a conversation with a circle of acquaintances outside of a show. Some of them defended the tour decision on the basis of “who’s keeping metalcore alive in 2018?” (Parkway Drive was out of the question and I wouldn’t expect people in their very early 20s to be familiar with Bleeding Through's legacy). Months later, the answer is here. All That Remains is still at the forefront of the genre and by the end of this review, I will have proven why.

"Victim Of The New Disease", the Springfield, MA outfit's ninth studio album is released on November 9th via Eleven Seven Music and it's pretty much what you'd expect from these veterans. Nostalgia? Check. Melody and brutality? Check. Crashing breakdowns? Check. Some of the best vocals in the scene? Double check. The album consists 10 tracks, all of which portray in varying degrees the spirit of the band while the constant changes between ferocity and emotion showcase their striking composing capabilities. Neck-breaking bangers such as "Fuck Love", one of their most intense songs ever and which lives up to its name, "Wasteland" and the title track perfectly juxtapose the unexpected tranquility of "Alone In The Darkness", while the likes of "Misery In Me" (which I feel has a Killswitch Engage vibe) and "Just Tell Me Something" with its beautiful chorus sit right in the middle. I am aware that the album will not please everyone -and I wouldn't expect it to either. The emergence of so many bands with the same influences and the same playing style over the last decade has rendered the genre essentially stagnant. People who have grown out of this scene will probably find some tracks "too cheesy or light for their taste" but I firmly believe that diehard heavy music fans will appreciate every facet of this album and that it will be impossible for them not to headbang or play air guitar as the songs flow. Certain songs are written to be performed live. Other than the opening track, whose anthemic nature has already set the bar high for the album, it is songs like "Wasteland", "Broken" or "Misery In Me" that have the structural intensity to qualify as pit hits; face-melting riffs, unapologetic attitude, pummeling drumwork, catchy choruses and crafty solos. 

As I mentioned, ATR are veterans and have survived the shifts and changes of trends in the industry and are still going strong. Some would argue that it's pure luck but I beg to differ. The band has a solid knowledge of their craftmanship and plays the game by their rules, shamelessly fiddling with critics', fans and press alike, expectations. Upon reading vocalist Phil Labonte's quote on the press release ("people might've expected something more experimental, but throwing curveballs is what we do"), I knew my instinct was right. "Victim Of The New Disease" is a brilliant album. I'm not sure if we're talking about a "new era" per se but I'm really curious to see where ATR takes things next.
Metalcore lives.

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