Say what you will about Phil Labonte, but the man speaks his mind and isn’t afraid to take on all comers, especially on social media. Now whether or not you agree with his choice of topics sometimes, there’s still something to be said for his authenticity, whether it be good or bad. His band ALL THAT REMAINS has always been very much a hit or miss thing for me. For every one or two songs I liked I’d find one I didn’t almost immediately after. I hadn’t heard anything in awhile so when new album Madness (out now, Razor & Tie) showed up I figured, “What the Hell?” and gave it a shot. And there’s a fair amount of good stuff to be found, with the occasional throwaway, but overall it’s solid.
The first thing that caught my attention was the double play of “Madness” and “Nothing I Can Do.” Both tunes are heavy and have synth/programming elements that really enhance the flavor of the songs, and the gang vocals on “Nothing” really elevate it to a new plane. But the biggest standout for me right away is “If I’m Honest.” Y’all know how I hear a certain song on a record and fixate on it, repeating it over and over before I move on. Well, this is one of those. In fact, this just might be my favorite song in the ALL THAT REMAINS catalog. It’s an acoustic/electric number that dares you to NOT feel something, which I daresay is impossible.
Next up is a trio of heavy hitters in “Halo”, single “Louder,” and “Rivercity.” Now this one is something, because it is a military term for a command’s communications being down. Everything goes dark, and spouses have no idea what the fuck is going on at the other side of the world until they hear otherwise. It’s scary, and as a military man I can totally appreciate the deep feelings that went into this track. And next up is “Open Grave” which takes us into straight-ahead rock territory, something that is much needed after such an emotional previous tune. “Far From Home” also taps into the human emotion and it’s a very poignant song with a great chorus.
‘Trust and Believe” is not only one of my favorite phrases, but a pretty kickass song on this record. And “Never Sorry” is another gem for sure. I really enjoyed the hook on this one. Now, with all that said there were a couple of clunkers. Opener “Safe House” is noisy as all get out, and “Back to You” is just too syrupy for my taste. But really, those are minor blemishes. Overall Madness is a good album. It’s not outstanding, but it’s definitely one that I can see people getting excited about, and it’s one of the more complete ALL THAT REMAINS records I’ve heard in a long time. So if you’re a fan you’re probably gonna dig it. My recommendation? Give it a shot and see what turns you on.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “If I’m Honest”, “Nothing I Can Do”, “Never Sorry”, “Far From Home”, “Madness”, “Rivercity”