While certainly not the only great metalcore album that the mid-2000s had to offer, All That Remains had a real breakout moment with 2006’s The Fall Of Ideals. While their previous two records (especially This Darkened Heart) were good starts, it was clear that the talented band had much more to offer the metalcore scene at the time. The Fall Of Ideals was the band’s entry point into the mainstream metalcore scene, and while the band would eventually tweak their formula to reach even more of a vast audience, TFOI is still the band’s biggest accomplishment.
The Fall Of Ideals is a huge improvement on the band’s earlier material, with much better production and vastly improved instrumental performances across the board. Tracks like album opener “This Calling” and “It Dwells In Me” feature prominent guitar solos from the late, great Oli Herbert, along with some of Phil Labonte’s best vocal performances to date. The latter song, like much of the album, features more of Labonte’s singing than ever before – making for a metalcore album that’s accessible and still heavy at the same time. A metaphorical balance beam that’s difficult to walk on for many bands in the genre.
Another particular standout track is “The Air That I Breathe”, which features some of the best riffs on the album, and Labonte having complete control of the microphone. Of particular note is Shannon Lucas’s drumming skills, which are all over the record – specifically on the blistering “Not Alone” and “Six”, which border on melodic death metal at times. While certainly pleasing to the band’s older fans at the time, All That Remains’ older sounds are implemented well instead of just turning into another metalcore band with singing – as was popular at the time.
The Fall Of Ideals is All That Remains’ crowning achievement because it manages to not sacrifice their great musicianship for commercial accessibility. While some say the band may have done that on future records (especially 2012’s A War You Cannot Win) for more popularity, who can really blame them? At the very least, even fans who are picky about their metalcore likely can admit this is a record that hits most, if not all of, the right notes.
RIP, Oli Herbert.