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A War You Cannot Win

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There are many bands whose members grew up on screamo that have no problem disconnecting from their roots when plunging into metalcore. All That Remains is not one of them. With their sixth studio album, the quintet proudly wears such past influences on their collective sleeves. Even their pop-punk influenced “Asking Too Much” incorporates some early 1980s classic-rock guitar parts. A War You Cannot Win opens with frontman Philip Labonte balancing his brutal bark with melodic singing over a similar contrast of blasting riffs and dueling guitarmonies. The following “You Can’t Fill My Shadow” boasts a harder attack in the rhythm section. As Labonte’s yelling gets more demonic here; his singing parts recall those of the late Layne Staley from Alice In Chains. Those younger Bieber-banged frontmen from contemporary metalcore bands could learn much from Labonte, who doesn’t need to employ a second singer to provide the genre’s prerequisite yin-yang duality. When taking on a slower ballad (“What If I Was Nothing”), he’s not afraid to break genre rules and eschew the screaming altogether.

Customer Reviews

A Song You Cannot Sing?

This album is a huge disappointment to me. I LOVED Fall of Ideals (who didn't?) and I mostly liked Overcome. I really liked For We Are Many and thought they were making a push back towards their former glory. However, this album really emphasizes all of ATR's weaknesses, in my opinion, with few of the strengths. It starts off with "DOWN THROUGH THE AGES", a decently good track, it sounds pretty much like one of the better tracks off the last two albums. "YOU CAN'T FILL MY SHADOW" is in the same vein and has some sick screaming and thrashiness; however, both songs are brought down by crappily sung choruses. The theme of this album...which is then expanded upon by the awful "STAND UP", a song which is like a MUCH worse version of "Hold On" or similar. Phil's singing is really, really bad, and it dominates this single. It sounds just like Five Finger Death Punch, sadly. The next song, "A CALL TO ALL NON-BELIEVERS", is pretty good, until the chorus! The chorus consists of "A call to all non-believers, a call to all non-believers, a call to stand up and fight...a call to all non-believers, a call to all non-believers, a call to stand for what's right." Repetitive and similar to the last song's lyrics. The next cut, "ASKING TOO MUCH", is actually one of my favorite songs, weirdly enough. It's got no screaming...well, actually, the entire song contains clean vocals layered over the same lyrics, faintly screamed. This studio trick is used way too much by this band. Nonetheless, the song is catchy with a good guitar track, if you can get past the vocals. It's similar to "Faithless" sort of. Then you've got "INTRO"...which is not an intro, and has no real purpose. "JUST MOMENTS IN TIME" suffers from the same 'good song, terribly sung repetitive clean chorus' syndrome that plagues the majority of the album. It's becoming painfully obvious that this is ATR's formula. Poor Oli and the rest of the band...they could have so much more credit and respect in the metal community if they recruited a new vocalist. "Moments" has its great moments...including a memorable solo and drumming bit...but then Phil returns. "WHAT IF I WAS NOTHING" is my least favorite song on the album, tied with "Stand Up". Everything about it is terrible...the slow instrumentals, cliche lyrics, singing layered over weak 'screams'...skip this. Then comes "SING FOR LIBERTY" which is decent, but an overabundance of Phil is here too. He seems to be preaching about 'taking back your freedom' aka abolishing gun control laws. Too many songs on this album have this theme, which would be great if ATR was actually being repressed in some way, or if we were in fascist Italy or something. However, Phil's political tirades have made his position clear, and it's too bad that it bleeds into the band's music so much. The next track, "NOT FADING", is quite generic, with no unclean vocals, and a repetitve structure. Quite frankly, it's fading...from my interest and memory. It's upbeat and inspiring...I think? "CALCULATING LONELINESS" is an instrumental, which from what I've been saying about Phil should be a good thing, but it's very dull and seems like it was just put there because so many metal albums have 'that instrumental track' near the end. It doesn't feel calculating at all. "A WAR YOU CANNOT WIN", the last and title track, is one of the better ones. The singing is at least bearable, with a somewhat catchy and amusing "NO, HELL NO!" shouted lyric in the chorus. It's a fast, heavier track with a decent breakdown and I like it. Good closer.

This is the album in ATR's career that makes me no longer care about them. One 'Five Finger Death Punch' is more than enough. The 3ish songs I do like can't really make up for the rest of the album, which is rather lackluster with lots of Philler songs. If the band changes their vocalist I will be happy to listen to future efforts. Sorry guys.


Not what they use to be, just speachless... it sickins me


A once powerhouse of the metalcore scene has turned into mainstream crap! Sickening to say the least. Phil and Ollie, you sold out...


Formed: 1998 in Springfield, MA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Formed by guitarist Oli Herbert and ex-Shadows Fall vocalist Phil Labonte in 1998, Massachusetts' All That Remains debuted in 2002 with Behind Silence and Solitude on Metal Blade. Rounded out by drummer Michael Bartlett, guitarist Chris Bartlett, and bassist Danny Egan, the record first showcased the band's blistering and heavy take on melodically infused hardcore death metal. All That Remains went through some lineup changes, and guitarist Mike Martin was added in for their 2004 breakthrough on...
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A War You Cannot Win, All That Remains
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