All That Remains – Victim of the New Disease
Release Date: November 9, 2018
Let me start out by quoting, “I don’t want to write this, cause if I do it might be true,” which sums up how I am feeling as I write this review. These are the beginning lyrics to the second song on this album, titled “Everything’s Wrong”. As I am sure all of you know by now, lead guitarist and co-founding member of All That Remains, Oli Herbert, tragically passed away recently. He was arguably one of the best and most underrated guitarists in heavy metal (and music in general). His flawless solos and memorable riffs will be a forever stamp on the metal community. Victim of the New Disease is another beautiful rendition of his legacy that will live on and through us all.
Starting their career in 1998 out of Springfield, Massachusetts, Oli Herbert and ex-Shadows Fall vocalist, Philip Labonte, formed the heavy metal band, All That Remains. They remained the only constant members throughout the band’s career. The lineup for this album consists of: Labonte and Herbert, alongside longtime guitarist Mike Martin, drummer Jason Costa, and bassist Aaron “Bubbles” Patrick (ex-DevilDriver). Victim of the New Disease is their ninth full-length album.
I have listened to this album, back to back, for over a week. Not because I needed to digest it, not because I needed to learn to love it, but because I loved it right away. Forget what you think you may know about the direction All That Remains has taken, this album is a perfect mix of everything they do so well. The first track, titled, “Fuck Love”, is angry, aggressive, and all metal. It starts out with intense riffs and screaming vocals. In the middle, things get crazy. Headbangingly, beautifully, crazy. It is an amazing start to an incredible album.
There is a huge shift from track one to track two. As I mentioned before, track two is titled “Everything’s Wrong”. This song is a slower one, more of a “What if I Was Nothing” kind of track. Labonte sings more throughout this track and it keeps a fairly steady beat. There is the classic Herbert solo in the middle that breaks it up a bit. Then the shift happens again, this occurs throughout the whole album, which I think is brilliant! Track three, “Blood I Spill,” hops right back into heavier riffs and pinch harmonics. Labonte’s vocals are fierce and dynamic. The guttural screams rocked me to my core.
Let me skip to track five, “Alone in the Darkness”. I cannot quite put into words what this song does to me. It is haunting and alluring. I felt like it was speaking to my soul, even with the musical aspect of it. The whole song is so magnificent that it tends to seep into every fiber of my being. I feel it like I haven’t felt a newer song in a long time. My heart hurt, I wanted to cry, but I was comforted. I felt understood in the most strange and sublime way. It is a masterpiece of a song. The next track, “Misery In Me,” quickly yanked me out of this sorrow and comfort with an energetic and extreme riff. Labonte screams in the beginning, but settles into the chorus with his cleaner vocals that he masters so well. This album has shown me his incredible vocal range. He is all over the place, in the most wonderful way. At one point I related him to the Mike Patton of metal. He is genuinely that talented with his voice.
It is difficult for me to not automatically pick out Herbert’s guitar work, because he was a genius of his instrument, and the rest of the musicians bring it all together so profoundly, it is the magic of this band. Labonte made me a firm believer in his divergent talents as well. “Broken”, track seven, damn. Epic breakdowns, brutal vocals, serious drums, diverse and splendid. The album ends with the album titled song, “Victim of a New Disease”. It begins with a catchy guitar riff, ferocious vocals, and ruthless drums and bass. It starts to steady into a singing chorus, but quickly dives back into the intensity of metal. Herbert’s solo on this song is my favorite on the album.
This album had me, hook, line, and sinker throughout its entirety. It is incredibly diverse, full of unbelievable riffs and prodigious solos, extraordinary drums beats, astounding bass sounds, and awe-inspiring vocals that made me a huge Labonte fan. I liked him before, now I have a whole new respect for him.
Who knows what the future holds for All That Remains, but if there is a future, it will be different without Herbert’s indelible and distinctive guitar works. Change doesn’t always or necessarily mean bad, just different. Make sure you get this album and keep his legacy alive through something he clearly enjoyed and was phenomenal at. All these guys deserve the support for so many reasons.