Review by Shannon Shumaker
All That Remains have done it yet again. The band’s seventh studio album, The Order of Things is bound to keep old fans satisfied while still allowing All That Remains to grow and change. The album, which opens with a somber piano intro before diving into the explosive and captivating sound on “This Probably Won’t End Well,” absolutely deserves to be listened to in one sitting. The journey that All That Remains takes you on with this record has its ups and downs, but ultimately leaves you on a high note, and sends you off with another beautiful piano part that really rounds out the album.
Right off the bat, Phil Labonte’s vocals are strong and commanding. His clean vocal work on “This Probably Won’t End Well” is great and the chorus is bright, memorable and captivating, setting the bar high for this release. Thankfully, the following tracks only seem to back it up. “No Knock,” for instance, is easily the heaviest song on the album, both vocally and musically. It’s easy to tell right off the bat when the strong, dirty guitar riff opens the song, that it’s going to hit hard, and by the time that Labonte’s vocals come in, the song absolutely explodes. Following “No Knock” are “Divide” and “The Greatest Generation,” which both host some really subtle yet great vocal harmonies. In fact, the vocal work and lyrics are definitely some of the strongest points in The Order of Things. For instance, the lyricism in “The Greatest Generation,” is very broad and understandable, but without being bland - the song is relatable, but still definitely about the bands’ legacy.
Musically, The Order of Things is very strong, as well. With acoustic guitar work opening up the album’s fifth song, “For You,” All That Remains definitely prove that The Order of Things is multi-dimensional. The guitar work on this track is amazing, and the way it transitions from acoustics to a full band is virtually seamless. Vocally and lyrically, “For You” is really emotional and heartfelt, making the song strong all around. Again, the vocal harmonies are subtle but beautiful, and it’s definitely great to hear a love song only a few tracks after a heavier song like “No Knock” and right before a fast paced, guitar driven track like “A Reason For Me To Fight.”
If The Order of Things does anything, it keeps you on your toes. Of course, there are a few songs that don’t necessarily stand out from the pack (“Victory Lap” and “Pernicious” didn’t really do it for me) but there are more strong tracks on the album than weak ones. “Bite My Tongue,” for instance, is easily the high point on the second half of the album. Like much of The Order of Things, the vocal harmonies are awesome, but on top of that, the chorus is catchy as hell and memorable - by the time the song is over, I’m humming it to myself. The guitar work on “Bite My Tongue” is also strong, especially when the song slows down about halfway through and transitions into some clean and almost jazzy guitar work that sounds unlike anything else on the rest of the album. And then, just when you think you have “Bite My Tongue” figured out, it throws you right into an explosive guitar solo.
From beginning to end, The Order of Things not only delivers, but it keeps you guessing, keeps you interested and ultimately leaves you satisfied. Some tracks on the album are a bit predictable, but not in a way that will make you lose interest, and others are so wild, that you’ll be blown away multiple times before the song even ends. To end the album in the perfect way is the final track, “Criticism And Self Realization,” which is the seven minute long culmination of all of the strong aspects of every single song on The Order of Things. “Criticism And Self Realization” is easily one of the most diverse tracks on the album, with aggressive and commanding unclean vocals, a chorus that is sure to get stuck in your head, incredible guitar work and tempo changes that will blow your mind. The lyrics on this track are strong and personal, but still relatable as Labonte belts, “Looking back what’s left of me?/Am I the person that I wanna be?” The final track leaves you right where the album began, with a beautiful piano outro, which makes The Order of Things feel full and theatrical. Easily All That Remains’ most ambitious release yet, The Order of Things should not be missed.
Listen to "Bite My Tongue"