All That Remains is back—and in a big way. The Massachusetts natives are about to release their ninth studio album called Victim of the New Disease. The band released two of the ten tracks for listening. Fans received them with nearly unanimous, albeit hesitant praise. Departing from their metalcore foundation, the group has gravitated towards a rock radio vibe in recent years. While they’ve never totally forsaken metal on a record, it hasn’t ruled in the majority for quite a while. Until now, that is. Fans that have been begging for “old” All That Remains can rest assured. This is what you’ve been waiting for.
You should be aware that there are softer, ballad-like songs. While standing out, they don’t feel out of place among their heavier counterparts, neither do they overrun the album. The order of things (pun intended) is significantly better this time. The past few albums seemed to start heavy but progressively descend after one or two songs. Some might argue it almost became a precedent. Who could blame you for being a little skeptical after that? This time around, it’s thankfully not the case. The latticed—and probably intentional—arrangement of songs should leave you feeling satisfied. It has a much more solid framework, which ends just as strongly as it begins.
The instrumentation and vocals themselves are equally on par with that. Victim of the New Disease stands firmly upon of the stuff metalcore dreams are made of. It’s like a step backward in time, but in the absolute right direction. With roots stemming from deep inside the New England metalcore scene, All That Remains have finally returned home again.
“Fuck Love” opens the album, immediately rearing its head like a blazing Phoenix of redemption. It unleashes some of the most thundering licks on the record. Drummer Jason Costa’s pedal work is merciless while the late and great Oli Herbert fastidiously picks away like a madman. Vocalist Phil Labonte dishes out blood curling screams with a force and brutality that is “Six” quality to say the least.
“Broken”, "Wasteland" and “Blood I Spill” are also notable heavy hitters on the album. The verses rocket forth like sonic fireballs, churned along by strong, melodic choruses. If you’re looking for something that will get you in the pit, these will more than likely do it.
Taking a departure, “Everything’s Wrong” begins to introduce that aforementioned softer side. The intro is comprised of lone guitars, which mingle in harmony as they subtly build on each other. The momentum is paced yet steady, balanced by the solid and underlying weight of bass and drums. It is also here that Phil Labonte’s vocals show a progressive depth. His voice sounds a little deeper and richer than before. This attribute transcends the entire album, another small facet in the multidimensional prose of Victim of the New Disease. Hopefully, it will continue to appear on future albums.
In further contrast, “Alone in the Darkness” and “Just Tell Me Something” are brooding yet beautiful tracks that err towards the ballad-y side. Laced with acoustic work and hauntingly melodic, they clearly stand out from the rest. However, they don’t feel out of place here at all.
Just as it began, Victim of the New Disease finishes resiliently with its title track. The fist-pumping chants and anthem-style vibe will leave you wanting to listen all over again. If you feel so inclined, hit repeat, turn up the volume and enjoy.