Saturday, July 11, 2009

All That Remains, Trivium, God Forbid

I’m going to the Mayhem Festival tomorrow in San Bernardino, CA and the lineup is definitely the best of all the summer tours. So, I decided to do another tripler and review three albums from three of the bands on the tour. Since I just wrote an entry about some of the best Metalcore bands, I’m going to continue with a review of All That Remains, Trivium and God Forbid. Although God Forbid was the only one to release an album this year, ATR and Trivium came out with incredible albums last Fall that I must discuss.

All That Remains is definitely one of the best bands in Metalcore and each album has a unique feel to it. All of their albums are extremely catchy and their guitarist Oli Herbet writes some incredible guitar riffs. Their most recent album, Overcome, is criticized for being their “lightest” effort but to say that they have sold out is completely wrong. Phil Labonte has become a vocalist with a great range of styles and showcases them on this album and he complements this with his excellent lyrics. Although it is more melodic and catchy, they still retain their pounding drums and excellent solos. I had the chance to see them live when Overcome first came out and they hit every note and chord perfectly. I think this would be a great album for Metalcore newbie’s because its lighter and melodic nature is simply easier to listen to for untrained ears. Interestingly the band has used Guitar Hero to gain many new fans and although some people criticize this type of promotion, I think it’s a great way to bring in new fans to more underground genres. I still must say that I like previous album, The Fall of Ideals, better simply because it has a perfect balance between heaviness and melody (a 10/10 album). Ironically I think that “Believe in Nothing” is the best song on the album despite the fact that it is very light; the lyrics are mind blowingly good and Labonte pours his soul into it. ATR fans will not be disappointed and I am very stoked to see them shred tomorrow!

Trivium has always been an interesting band and I love listening to their music evolve and change. The new album, Shogun, is their most eclectic release to date and showcases a mixture of the various styles they have used. Of course, they were heavily criticized for their album The Crusade due to its blatant imitation of Metallica. In fact, I didn’t like the album my first few listens but it really grew on me and I think it was a solid album. This album blows it out of the water though and is probably Trivium’s best album, although I love Ascendancy. The songs on Shogun are longer, better written and more technical than anything they have ever done. Their vocals are a perfect mix of screaming, harsh vocals and singing and their lyrics are brutal in the best of ways. My favorite track on the album is "Kirisute Gomen", which I think highlights the stylistic mix of the album. Even their drummer, Travis Smith, has gotten better (he was often criticized for being shitty) and I’m really looking forward to seeing how the band plays tomorrow. The Japanese influence of Matt Heafy makes for an interesting concept album and each track actually sounds different. The greater role of Corey Beaulieu’s backing vocals also helps complement the more eclectic style and he does some very aggressive death growls.

God Forbid is the most underrated of all the Metalcore bands that I’ve reviewed so far. I’m not sure why they have not achieved greater recognition and popularity but the latest album, Earthsblood, is, for lack of better words, fucking awesome. Let’s not forget how epic their previous concept album, IV: Constitution of Treason was with its very unique style and thought provoking lyrics. I would say this is in the same vein, but it isn’t really because I think they have progressed their own sound even further. This album has more thrash elements and an even better balance between brutality and melody. Byron Davis really goes all out with extremely passionate and powerful vocals and lyrics. The Earth’s blood he is referring to is of course oil and there is a clear environmental message as well as political criticism of war and capitalism, which comprise the album’s conceptual base. I think it is a very worldly album that is promoting a greater human consciousness of what we are doing to Gaia (Mother-Earth) and to each other. I think it has as much power as Gojira’s From Mars to Sirius that deals with similar themes at the same level of seriousness. And don’t worry kids, there are some decimating breakdowns and delicious guitar solos that complement the amazing passion of the band. I must mention the fact that most of the band are black, which is notable because metal is stereotypically a very “white” genre. This band along with KSE and others prove that it doesn’t matter what your skin color is, you can create amazing metal if you are passionate about your music. Unfortunately, they recently lost Dallas Coyle, who was a major part of the band, so it will be interesting to see how they perform tomorrow. Check out this interview with Guitaris Doc Coyle:

I’m going to give all three of these albums 9/10 and certify them Nasty! Amazing efforts by all of the bands and they have proven that they can evolve and innovate their own styles to make incredible records. I can’t wait to see them all tomorrow along with Marilyn Manson, Slayer and all the other bands.

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