All That Remains
By Kevin Zimmerman
All That Remains: No Limits
“It really can’t be denied at this point. All That Remains is a force to be reckoned with,” said of the four-piece’s latest album, A War You Cannot Win. “What makes All That Remains special,” added Allmusic.com, “is that they’ve managed to make not having a niche their specialty, a rarity in a genre as stratified as heavy metal.”
“There’s nothing we can’t try to do – nothing that’s off-limits,” agrees singer/songwriter Philip Labonte. A pause, and then he adds with a chuckle, “Except for things that sound bad.”
Over the course of six albums, ATR – whose other members are guitarists Oli Herbert and Mike Martin, bassist Jeanne Sagan and drummer Jason Costa – has made its name by subgenre-hopping. Metalcore? Death metal? Arena rockers? Hard rockers with a heart? They’ve been called all those (and more), but the group prefers to call their sound “modern metal” and leave it at that.
“We try to avoid putting the same record out – and our fans seem to appreciate that,” Labonte says. “We always try to go for a different vibe that’s representative of where we are at that time. We had a ballad on our last record, which isn’t always ‘acceptable’ for a metal band.”
Experimentation will continue on ATR’s seventh album, which likely will be out this Fall. “I told Oli to try banjo on one track,” Labonte says. “It’d be cool to use an ebow or keyboards, what have you. And of course there’ll be plenty of electric guitar as well. Coming up with different sounds with the same band – that’s what we’re after.”
“I wanted to take a close look at how songs were structured, what goes into the whole process,” he explains. “Becoming a songwriter was really a product of necessity, because I didn’t want to keep making the same record over and over.
“Besides,” he adds with a chuckle, “if all the songs you’re writing sound (bad), you’re probably writing songs incorrectly.”
Most of ATR’s material are collaborations, Labonte says. “I’ll come up with something off the cuff a lot of the time, and usually Oli has the majority of the music down. Then the rest of us will shape it until we’ve got something that sounds good. Everyone brings something to it.”