- Philip Labonte – lead vocals
- Oli Herbert – lead guitar
- Mike Martin – rhythm guitar
- Aaron Patrick – bass guitar
- Jason Costa – drums
Madness Track Listing:
- Safe House
- Nothing I Can Do
- If I’m Honest
- Open Grave
- Far From Home
- Trust and Believe
- Back to You
- Never Sorry
- The Thunder Rolls (Garth Brooks cover)
All That Remains’ latest record shows a band in rapid decline. For years, All That Remains have been putting out quality metalcore records, but their core started to rot with the release of A War You Cannot Win in 2012 and its follow-up The Order of Things in 2015. Madness continues this decline across a lengthy record that never lives up to its opening two tracks.
Safe House is the record’s singular metal track and a not great one at that. It’s quite heavy, but there’s a bizarre effect placed over Phil Labonte’s (always) good screamed vocals. The title track, Madness, is a decent enough song too, but sadly, the rest of the record just isn’t easy to recommend at all.
Speaking on the record before it released at the tail end of April, Labonte spoke about what to expect – this made me very wary of Madness:
On this record, there’s five songs on the record that are exactly what you would expect from All That Remains. There’s some songs where we kind of were, like, ‘All right, let’s push this and maybe change what we can do, or what All That Remains is allowed to do.’ But it ain’t like we’re not heavy anymore. And if you’re just, like, ‘Oh, they’re not heavy anymore,’ then you’re just not listening.
I’m sorry Mr. Labonte, but I was listening. Madness isn’t a heavy record in the slightest outside of Safe House. Yes, there is still metal to be found here, but this is toned down even compared to their previous, divisive albums. It’s light, radio-friendly metal throughout, with a couple of country-western sounding tracks (including a cover of a Garth Brooks track) thrown in for good measure. All That remains have gone from quality metalcore to awful pop metal so quickly that it’s actually quite depressing for a long-time fan such as myself.
There’s a lot of programming and electronic sounds to the new record. Far, far too many. It doesn’t work for a band that has been producing great riff-heavy metal stuff for years. It’s a regression on their songwriting. Any riff that is here sounds tame in comparison to the likes of anything found in For We Are Many, The Fall of Ideals and even A War You Cannot Win. There’s more of an emphasis on Labonte’s vocals this time around, and while it can work to some extent in the likes of Madness, there are so many misfires here it’s embarrassing.
Nothing I Can Do, If I’m Honest, Rivercity, Open Grave, Far From Home, Trust and Believe, Back to You and Never Sorry all range from forgettable to straight up terrible. Labonte has spoken of All That Remains as being punk rock. Forgive me if I’m mistaken, but I thought punk was about being quite aggressively anti-establishment and not this God-awful radio friendly arse water that Madness is for the most part. You can hear the band’s desperation to be popular in this 13-track suck up to the likes of Five Finger Death Punch. It’s a regressive, pitiable effort from a band I’ve been a big fan of for years.
Madness is one of the worst records I have ever heard.