All That Remains – Victim of the New Disease (Fearless Records)Wednesday, 7th November 2018
Without question, the metal community took a heavy hit recently with the unexpected loss of All That Remains’ guitarist Oli Herbert. Knowing that this one was going to be the last we heard from him made it a bit tough to listen to – regardless of All That Remains’ recent output, Herbert’s riffs had been a defining characteristic for the band. While Victim of the New Disease isn’t a total throwback, it sits in a significantly better spot than the band had been in with the last few releases.
Perhaps the bar was set a bit low after the last two meandering albums (Madness and The Order of Things) where the band felt uncomfortable in their own skin, but Victim of the New Disease does a good overall job of bringing heaviness back into the regular rotation for the band. Opener “Fuck Love” holds back no punches, with a genuinely throttling tone that makes it seem like it wouldn’t have been out of place on an AtR album a decade ago, even going so far as to produce a monster breakdown at the end with Phil Labonte screaming with more passion than on the last 3 albums combined. “Broken” and the title track echo these statements, with the band feeling much more at home with their metallic roots.
The scream/sing combos come at their usual proportions, with “Blood I Spill,” “Wasteland,” and “Misery in Me” providing some solid reminders of what the band is capable of within the metalcore scene, with the melodeath riffing and melodies flying high, and Herbert’s leads may be short-lived on some tracks but still enjoyable and flashy. Of course, there are a few melodic rockers, with “Alone in the Darkness” hitting the cringe-inducing marks of the previous releases, but “Just Tell Me Something” and “Everything’s Wrong” feel more genuine in their tone (they are also a bit lighter on the autotune than some previous tracks), and give the album some added emotional weight without feeling tacked on to bolster sales.
While All That Remains future may be uncertain at this point, it’s satisfying to know that Victim of the New Disease sees them returning with more of their metallic flair intact. It’s been a few releases since they sounded this pissed (in a sincere way), and this sits as their strongest release in the past decade. RIP Oli, let’s see where the band goes from here.