All That Remains

The Order of Things

The Order of Things

Razor & Tie/Cooking Vinyl
Reviewed By Simon Milburn
Published 08/04/2015

The first song title sums it up

Without going into a full on history lesson for All That Remains, I must admit it surprised me that The Order of Things is album number seven for the group. As someone that first heard them with the excellent 2004 release This Darkened Heart, I guess when I do the maths, maybe that shouldn’t really be that much of a surprise. I know that All That Remains delivered solid follow up albums with 2006’s The Fall of Ideals and 2008’s Overcome but I have to admit, the last couple since then have fallen short of capturing the magic of the band’s earlier releases. Now, this isn’t because I’m some kind of “I like your old stuff better than your new stuff” snob. No. Not in this case anyways. It just happens to hold true that the quintet’s latter releases don’t quite cut it. It really is that simple.

The thing about album number seven is that it really doesn’t do much to change my opinion of the band at this point. Vocalist Phil Labonte might have fronted Shadows Fall once upon a time but at least in the formative years of All That Remains, it appeared that he was establishing something that could stand on its own two feet with ease. I’m not sure what changed after Overcome but the band’s releases since then just haven’t stacked up.

Perhaps it’s an omen that the opening cut is named “This Probably Won’t End Well”. Whatever the reason, it certainly isn’t the most positive outlook any band could garner to kick off an album. The track itself isn’t bad - it’s also far from amazing as well - and really does further cement the bands intention to steer clear of their earlier metalcore roots and stick to the safer melodic hard rock ground that began to emerge on Overcome. Regardless of the inconsistent output of the band since that album, it’s clear they aren’t changing tack anytime soon as The Order of Things isn’t so much a logical step from the band’s last album – 2012’s A War You Cannot Win – it’s just more of the same really.

That’s the thing about this album as a whole is that it feels safe. Now I could criticise All That Remains for taking that option and not doing something different this time around. However it’s clear from the last few albums what the band are all about. So, it should be no surprise that the majority of their latest album follows suit. But you’d hope, as a fan or as a critic, than in sticking to the safe option that you’d be doing your damnedest to pen some excellent songs. There are a dozen tracks here and not a single one of them hits that register. Not a one.

To be fair, there are some solid moments but they are few and far between, lost in a wishy, washy sea of bland melodic hooks and uninspired ideas which ultimately leads rehashed sounding songs. It would be almost safe to say that you could swap any of the songs on The Order of Things with tracks from the previous couple of albums and be none the wiser.

It’s sad to get to this point. I still rate those first few All That Remains albums but today the band is a shadow of their collective former self. Fans of the bands early material will undoubtedly be just as pissed off and frustrated with this album as anything they released since 2008 if they still care about All That Remains at this point. No doubt those that prefer their recent output will probably dig this as well but I can’t help feel that it’s just empty and lifeless through and through.

More from All That Remains

The Order of Things

Razor & Tie/Cooking Vinyl

Reviewed By Simon Milburn
Published 08/04/2015