Sound — 8
For All That Remains, having Killswitch Engage guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz as a producer always weighed heavily in their favor. When you added in another ingredient -- namely having a song included in Guitar Hero II -- that sweetened the pot and it showed up in terms of record sales (the last album The Fall Of Ideals has sold more than 175, 000 copies). For the latest album Overcome, the band opted to go with producer Jason Suecof at the helm and time will tell if it's a smart move. In the grand scheme of things, the biggest change comes in the fact there is a definite emphasis on the melodic vocal area. There have been interviews where vocalist Philip Labonte has mentioned that Overcome is a heavier offering from All That Remains. You do get a good dose of the band's aggressive side, but there seems to actually be a pretty good balance in heaviness and melody. The opening track Before The Damned is one of the best on the CD, and it's a pretty good template for the entire record. You get amazing double bass pedal, sweeping guitar sections, and the back-and-forth growls and singing. Melodically it's one of the most memorable and was a wise starter for the album. Labonte does give a good deal of time to his traditional singing on the album, which may be the influence of Suecof, who also worked with Trivium. That may be the case, but there are still plenty of the death vocals within the album. A prime example is Relinquish, a short and sweet track that explodes from the get-go. The death vocals own this song and no singing is necessarily needed. The energy is nonstop and it delivers everything you want in an aggressive song: lots of distortion in the chorus, double bass pedal, pinch harmonics, and a killer solo. While many of the tracks do have a similar feel, there are a couple that stand out for going to the next level. One is Chiron, which is an all-around cool song that is aided by classical acoustic work at the halfway mark. There is also a change in the energy with the closing track Believe In Nothing, a cover of the 2000 Nevermore ballad. Not a lot has changed in terms of the interpretation, but it makes for a nice contrast on Overcome.
Lyrics — 7
Introspection is key on Overcome, and most of the tracks do basically reflect upon anger, fear, regret, etc. It's a solid collection of lyrics, although only a few jump off the page. The opening track Before The Damned takes more of a third person approach and there's more of an over-the-top feel that works for a dramatic introduction. Labonte sings, Fallen feed on fallen now; Let the wretched have their fill; Feast not with the beast of old; Taste the fruit of I'll will. Most of the lyrics usually stick with topics that are more personal and familiar, so having a song like Before The Damned is actually refreshing.
Overall Impression — 8
If you're expecting a much heavier sound than what we've heard from All That Remains in the past, you won't necessarily get it. However, that doesn't mean the quality isn't there. Undone features an incredible intro and solo scale work, while A Song For The Hopeless includes a very impressive harmonized guitar section at the end. About half of the songs do stick to the same basic formula, but they still end up being very listenable thanks to the reliable guitar team of Mike Martin and Oli Herbert.