All That Remains have returned to their roots in some capacity with Victim of the New Disease. While the record doesn’t quite match up to their best stuff, it is easily the band’s best album since 2010’s For We Are Many – now five studio recordings ago.
Opening with their heaviest track since 2006, “Fuck Love” gets Victim of the New Disease off to a perfect start; it’s reminiscent of the excellent “Indictment” from genre classic The Fall of Ideals. This is the band producing their own brand of melodic death metal for the first time in years. And this is not the only strong track; “Blood I Spill” is classic All That Remains for example. It’s heavy, with some excellent vicious death growls from Philip Labonte, and a catchy chorus to boot. “Wasteland” features excellent down-tuned djent-esque riffs, and a rip-roaring guitar solo – a trademark of the, sadly, recently departed Oli Herbert. There are plenty of heavy barnstormers to choose from, and it’s no coincidence that an apparent new-found love for their old-school sound is prevalent in each one.
Quite the heavy tune, give “Wasteland” a listen.
Unfortunately, the unwanted newer elements of All That Remains’ sound can also still be found. Electronic bits filter in unnecessarily, detracting from the at times crushingly heavy sound. “Alone in the Darkness” takes the album on a needless tangent to a lighter, far less interesting sound. With such stronger heavy tracks as the ones detailed above, it’s a shame to see this talent wasted on filler tracks such as this. “Just Tell Me Something” is the worst offender. It’s a lame, slow, quiet rock anthem that simply doesn’t belong on the same album as “Fuck Love”, “Blood I Spill”, and “Wasteland”.
In between this vast divide in quality, “Misery”, “Everything’s Wrong”, and “I Meant What I Said” straddle an uneasy middle ground. The impression is of an act who don’t know if they want to go balls-to-the-wall heavy or divert into anthemic rock. None of the three numbers are bad, though they do feel lacking. At least, the title track rounds the record out with a full-on traditional All That Remains metalcore track. It’s heavy, catchy, and once again reminds us of the band’s capabilities, albeit with a tamer chorus.
We have who pissed of whom, but we’re definitely stoked someone is yelling “Fuck Love”!
News of Oli Herbert’s passing is still reverberating around the community, and while it is an unexpected tragedy, there is still some comfort that his last album with the band is their best in the last eight years. That said, while some tracks represent a true return to form, Victim of the New Disease is evidence of All That Remains’ lack of comfort in their new skin, and the attempted integration of rock and electronic elements is still holding them back.
Victim of the New Disease Track Listing:
01. Fuck Love
02. Everything’s Wrong
03. Blood I Spill
05. Alone in the Darkness
06. Misery in Me
08. Just Tell Me Something
09. I Meant What I Said
10. Victim of the New Disease
Run Time: 39:07
Release Date: November 9, 2018
Record Label: Eleven Seven Music