Sound — 7
With its fifth studio album, We Are Many, All That Remains once again excel at dishing out metalcore goodness, but it's the moments that the arrangements take unexpected turns (ones that don't necessarily bear any semblance to metalcore) that the record becomes the most intriguing. At the heart of it all is the nimble, beautiful execution of lead guitarist Oli Herbert, who steals the show every single time he lays down a solo. We Are Man thrives on its energy and rhythmic power, but there are moments when you crave a little something more than the typical death/growl vocals and chugging guitars. There are certainly no complaints on the production as a whole, and credit should be given to producer Adam Dutkiewicz (better known as the guitarist for Killswitch Engage), who has crafted a sonically tight record all in all.
The opener Now Let Them Tremble is short and sweet, taking the form of a brief interlude more than anything. Although there are death vocals included, the 1:19 song is meant more of a dramatic buildup of sorts with vibrant double bass pedal and driving lead guitar harmonies. The song transitions quickly and abruptly into the title track, which is one of the most aggressive numbers of the 12 selections. The arrangement features some cool use of vocal layering, the always-reliable rhythmic chugging, and one of Herbert's many amazing solos.
While breakdowns aren't necessarily a staple of every track, Some of the People, All of the Time is a standout in this area. You almost wish All That Remains might take a few moments to not necessarily regurgitate breakdown after breakdown, but to stray from the usual verse-chorus-verse layout that relies on a heavy helping of double bass pedal and the growl-to-clean vocal structure. That doesn't mean use a breakdown in every song, but it worked effectively in Some of the People, All of the Time.
There are more than a few highlights, particularly in Dead Wrong, which morphs into a slow, grooving Pantera vibe when the chorus arrives. The band not might not appreciate losing its identity with this comparison, but honestly the Dimebag-tinged chorus worked well for the song. Won't Go Quietly has crossover appeal due to its emphasis on a particularly strong melody, while The Waiting One features an acoustic beginning and a more hushed vocal approach that makes for a much-needed change of pace. While it's understandable that a metalcore band doesn't want to lose momentum with an album saturated with mellow ballads, The Waiting One is a standout because of its core songwriting more than anything.
Lyrics — 8
While there is an aggressive aspect to most of the musical content, the lyrics often dive into more vulnerable territory. From the reflective nature of From The Outside (Opened eyes see reality; Trying all the while to knock me down this tragedy; And the days turn to memories; How could this be that I feel nothing) to the even deeper Aggressive Opposition (Our dreams are what we are inside; And when we close our eyes; We see our future), the themes are surprisingly more about self examination than the typical anger you might expect.
Overall Impression — 8
We Are Many won't surprise listeners on many levels, but it also won't disappoint its past fans either. Chugging guitars, double bass pedal, and the growl/clean vocal combo are the name of the game on the album, so if you enjoy that standard metalcore arrangement then you will find the 12 tracks satisfying. Through it all it's Oli Herbert's lead work that makes the biggest impression, and All That Remains shouldn't hesitate in giving the talented musician even more time in the spotlight.