Originally published in Guitar World, December 2010
The metalcore group goes with its gut on its latest album.
As soon as Massachusetts metalcore band All That Remains entered their rehearsal space to start working on the follow-up to 2008’s Overcome, they were pressured by their record company to write songs in the vein of Overcome’s surprise hit “Two Weeks.”
“It kind of pissed me off,” lead guitarist Oli Herbert says. “I was like, Look, we write the music. This is our job.”
There are numerous radio-friendly moments on the band’s new album For We Are Many, including the soaring, midpaced “From the Outside” and the melancholy semi-acoustic ballad “The Waiting One.” However, most of the record is a deft blend of rapid, crunching thrash riffs, slower, Pantera-style grooves and articulate guitar leads that Herbert drew from various melodic motifs.
“I’m not against catchy music,” Herbert says. “I just didn’t want to do a carbon copy of something else that was successful. You just have to write what you’re really feeling, otherwise you’re doomed to fail.”
Their record label’s expectations were nothing compared to the standards the musicians set for themselves. Once they started compiling riffs into songs, they spent more than two months agonizing over which ones to use.
“So many times, one of us would go, ‘Oh, this is my favorite thing,’ and everyone else would say, “No, that sucks,’ ” rhythm guitarist Mike Martin says. “When it got really bad, Oli would quietly rock back and forth and [frontman] Phil [Labonte] would go, ‘Okay, I’m going home to shoot guns.’”
With the help of their old friend and producer Adam Dutkiewicz (Killswitch Engage), who mediated and finalized song arrangements, All That Remains overcame their differences and assembled their most cohesive and enduring album yet.
“Our last album was cool, but I was over it really fast,” Martin says. “This one is fun to play, and I think it’ll stay fresh for a long time.”