Music Interview: All That Remains and so much more

By Chris Courtice

The dawn of metal–A glorious age of men in tight leather pants and eye shadow belting out ballads of rocking all night. OK, this may not be considered as quintessential metal, but it is difficult to deny the aesthetic stereotype surrounding the metal genre even today.

Massachusetts-based metal-core band All That Remains is good metal without the questionable attire. With an excellent mix of metal solos and power riffs, accompanied by heavy hardcore breakdowns, they’re a force to be reckoned with. Recently releasing their second album, This Darkened Heart, brought the quintet to the hardcore metal forefront–even in their casual uniform of T-shirts, jeans, and clean cut hair.

“We don’t really look the part, but we definitely sound it,” defends ATR’s singer Phil Labonte of their more aggressive metal sound. They’ve come a long way since forming in 1998, back when Labonte was also fronted hardcore band Shadowsfall. Under a situation more convoluted than the twisted greasy locks of your middle-aged metal head, Phil left Shadowsfall and committed full time to ATR.

“I have a lot more freedom now [in ATR],” says Labonte. “Shadowsfall had a very rock kind of vibe, while we have a more metal vibe.”

Metal definitely comes to mind when lending an ear to ATR’s music, particularly Phil’s piercing and energetic vocals complementing the band’s strong rhythms and blazing chord structures. They have prescribed to an ideology of playing what they want, not what the metal scene dictates them to wear and sound. That order of thinking has led to greater success for ATR, and a tour opening for famed metal band GWAR.

“[Touring with GWAR] has been really great,” exclaims Phil. “We’ve had some sold out shows.”

With the addition of new guitarist Mike Martin and bassist Matt Deis, ATR has evolved and diversified with their sophomore musical attempt. And let’s not forget super producer Adam Dutkiewicz.

“We’ve known him for years,” explains Labonte, referring to his own stint with Adam’s old band Aftershock. Dutkiewicz has produced material for his current band, Killswitch Engage and such hardcore acts as Norma Jean. One would assume this might cause some of Killswitch to rub off onto the ATR album.

“[The similarities] are more in the production than anything else,” states Labonte. Labeling their style, however, may be the most difficult part of all.

“There’s so many bands that get tossed under the metalcore name,” says Phil.

But they’ll find their own way in today’s metal scene, among the hardcore, metalcore, grindcore, metal or whatever you want to call them. The label you give them will not change ATR’s musical potency. All That Remains is a band on the rise, even if they don’t wear tight leather pants.


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