All That Remains – A War You Cannot Win


A WAR YOU CANNOT WINHowever you choose to see them, legendary or not, All That Remains is a force to be reckoned with through their unique stylistic embrace or interpretation of metal. It keeps them distinctive and relevant, giving them both a commercially acceptable appeal and still garner respect from their more underground followers. They keep it clean and real, and it works for them. A War You Cannot Win shows this strength maturing and more than ever the shoe fits. What you get in terms of their sound is an infusion of commercial hardrock and metal comfortably infused with metal-core.

A War You Cannot Win is overall their most melodic effort by far. For some die-hards of All that Remains might find their more commercial approach hard to swallow and digest, but they have not left those fans high and dry completely on this release. This album has a lot of punches to throw, and it does so with relative ease with a song like “Down Through the Ages” with its aggressive guitar hooks, hard vocals and totally rages from start to finish and is a clear winner on this release. Though clearly a commercial resonance flows throughout the songs, the root base is still intact. So if you looking for All that Remains, you still going to get it, they have not evolved past what they are known for. You cannot blame a band if they are capable of writing clean and catchy songs and actual dare try making them at this level and they happen to turn a success out of it. A lot of that high end level production quality can be traced back to the producer Adam Dutkiewicz guitarist of Killswitch Engage. But you’ll always get your lovers and your haters, and both will increase on this release.

This album has a great selection of songs, and the album is near perfect and only misses the spot on the odd occasion. “What If I Was Nothing.” is one of those odd occasions , the radio friendly catchy power ballad is the odd man out on this release, but who am I to say what works and does not, and maybe it brings in new fans in the process who otherwise might over look them. An already successful band attempting to write commercially favorable music, might throw a little confusion into the pot though, and the last thing you should do on your way to the top is confuse your listeners, whom can be your worst critics at times. It has its fair share of breakdowns; an example of this is the song, “A Call To Non-Believers”. Over all though as a metal-core album it’s expected, but here within it’s not abused to the state of annoyance. I still does not take away the fact of how I feel about the genre, and I’ll voice it here by saying I feel like the metal-core scene should turn over and die, unless it is able to radically re-invent itself.

“You Can’t Fill My Shadow” hold itself as a great anthemic classic in this genre, whilst “Sing For Liberty” is a good hook laden metal-core song, and is a strong calling card of the bands signature sound and shows Jason Costa’s drum work as being one of the highlights of the song . “Not Fading” is again a testament to their metal-core sound, and that uniqueness of their sound, makes this song carry strong from beginning to end, and highlights Labonte’s voice as a instrument able to carry itself as its own amongst the great guitar, bass and drum work that is evident throughout the album. Hats off to Oli Herbert and Mike Martin for their great guitar work on this release. ‘Calculating Loneliness.’ is an acoustic number that does not do too much for me.

Overall this is a well produced album that will find much commercial acceptance. I would not clump it in as your basic metal-core album, because it has too much going for it to be savagely lumped like that with the scene. Yes it has a lot of ‘commercial’ properties to it, but it works well with their song writing abilities, and the great production only enhances that. So, yes there are a few exceptions on this release that will prevent it from being a home run winner, but overall it’s an enjoyable release, and certainly an album that the band can be proud of. A War You Cannot Win is a game setter that lights up with melodic hooks, brain jerking grooves, and certainly is one of the stronger more memorable metal-core releases you’ll find out there. It’s loud and clear and impressive.

Rating: 8.5/10

Written by Donovan de Necker

01. Down Through The Ages
02. You Can’t Fill My Shadow
03. Stand Up
04. A Call To All Non-Believers
05. Asking Too Much
06. Intro
07. Just Moments In Time
08. What If I Was Nothing
09. Sing For Liberty
10. Not Fading
11. Calculating Loneliness
12. A War You Cannot Win

Band members:
Philip Labonte – vocals
Mike Martin – guitar
Oli Herbert – guitar
Jeanne Sagan – bass
Jason Costa – drums

All That Remains (Demo) [1999]
Behind Silence and Solitude [2002]
This Darkened Heart [2004]
The Fall of Ideals [2006]
LIVE [2007]
Overcome [2008]
…For We Are Many [2010]
All That Remains – Jasta (Split) [2011]
A War You Cannot Win [2012]

Record Label: Razor & Tie/Prosthetic, Nov. 2012.

Weblinks: Website / Facebook / Twitter

Buy the album here:
 First Paradox 
 Nordic Mission

Video below for: Stand Up


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