All That Remains
There are lots of stories about a group looking for a new lead singer. Everybody knows the drill. There's a lengthy round of auditions. And just when it looks like the group might never find the right singer or have settle on someone they're not entirely happy with, the perfect person appears. With the vocalist dialed in, the group goes on to fame and fortune. But what about the guys not chosen? Do they spend their nights behind a convenience store counter pondering what might have been? Or kick their dog and fellow band mates as they struggle in lesser groups? No doubt some do just that, but not the ex-Shadows Fall vocalist, Phil Labonte.
According to Killswitch Engage bassist Mike D'Antonio, Labonte was the "runner-up" to Howard Jones to become the group's frontman. Even though Jones got the job, there didn't appear to be any animosity. Labonte admitted that Jones was "the better vocalist" of the two. But the story didn't end there. Labonte's backing vocals were heard on Killswitch Engage's "Alive Or Just Breathing" ("Self Revolution") and "The End Of The Heartache" ("Hope Is..." and "Irreversal").
Not letting rejection get him down, Labonte launched All That Remains. Along the way, the Massachusetts based group had no less than three bass players before the arrival of Jeanne Sagan. One bassist, Josh Vern, only lasted one show before it was discovered he had a severe drug problem. Another ex-bassist, Mike Deis, moved on to the Alt. Metal/Punk/Grunge band, CKY.
Only Labonte and guitarist Oli (Oliver) Herbert were original members. Guitarist Mike Martin joined after the group's '02 debut "Behind The Silence And Solitude." And following a succession of drummers (including Mike Bartlett and Shannon Luca), Tim Yeung was hired for live shows and sessions.
All That Remains released their debut to enthusiastic praise which yielded tour opportunities. Sophomore effort "This Darkened Heart" ('04) led to another trek while a stint on the '06 Ozzfest tour coincided with the release of "Fall Of Ideals." The album contained "The Calling," with two videos. One incorporated footage from Saw III. The song was the lead single off the soundtrack. Also, "Six" was a bonus track in the video game Guitar Hero II.
"All That Remains Live" landed in '07 as a CD/DVD package. The next year saw "Overcome" with the singles "Chiron" and "Two Weeks." The songs were downloadable content for the Rock Band video game (along with "The Calling"). "Two Weeks" was also a free playable download on the iPhone OS game, Tap Tap Revenge 2.
Jason Costa's broken hand forced All That Remains to recruit Tony Laureano, who toured with the band throughout '09. With Consta mended the group returned to the studio with producer Adam Dutiewicz to record their fifth studio album, "For We Are Many." "Fans Of 'Overcome' won't be disappointed, but the disc will also offer new twists and turns," said Labonte of the '10 album.
"For We Are Many" debuted at #10 on the Billboard 200, selling a little over 29,000 copies in its first week.
While promoting "For We Are Many," All That Remains suffered a case of miserable timing. They were scheduled to play a Tokyo show on the day a massively destructive earthquake and tsunami hit Japan. The quake interfered with train schedules so there were only 150 people in the audience. "The people that came to the show were really, really, really happy that we played for them," said Labonte. "They expected the show to be canceled and were glad it wasn't."
All That Remains' sixth album, "A War You Cannot Win," containing the single, "Stand Up," dropped in '12. Unlike "For We Are The Many," "A War You Cannot Win" failed to debut in the Top 10 on the Billboard 200, lodged at #13.
In an attempt to bounce back, All That Remains released "The Order Of Things" in early '15. It was their first effort under the guidance of producer Josh Wilbur (Lamb Of God).
But there was a setback. The group soon announced that Sagan had left the band to pursue personal interests. "So after nearly 10 years, (she) has decided to close the All That Remains chapter of her life," stated Labonte.
Aaron Patrick, previously in Bury Your Dead and Devildriver, was named as her replacement.
2002 Behind Silence And Solitude
2004 This Darkened Heart
2006 The Fall of Ideals
2010 For We Are Many
2012 A War You Cannot Win
2015 The Order Of Things
All That Remains has been called a Baby Killswitch. Though comparisons are unavoidable, All That Remains has some unique twists. Herbert's guitar work is their drawing card. In addition, there are different accents (styles, instruments, arrangements, etc.) from one album to the next.
All That Remains debut, "Behind The Silence And Solitude," is impressive. And though Labonte is talented, he's a fairly typical Metalcore vocalist. If there's a complaint, and it's a small one, some tracks are redundant. "Follow" and "Clarity" are nearly the same song.
The critics were right about "Overcome." They gave it mixed reviews due to the move toward a more mainstream sound. Not surprisingly, it's the singles that standout.
On one hand, All That Remains are out to be the heaviest of Heavy Metalcore practitioners and on the other, they come dangerously close to mainstream Rock. That tendency is evident on "For We Are The Many" and "The Order Of Things."