ALL THAT REMAINS – This Darkened Heart

Coming off the heels of this much talked-about New Wave of American Heavy Metal movement, ex-SHADOWS FALL vocalist Philip Labonte and ALL THAT REMAINS have just released their sophomore album through Prosthetic Records. This time out, the band seems to have embraced true heavy metal stylings, resulting in a sound that will remind many listeners of the shoes Brian Fair is now filling with SHADOWS FALL. In other words, the hardcore influences have been all but cast aside to make way for some truly brutal and beautiful metal riffage in the vein of early METALLICA and frequent nods to IRON MAIDEN. Labonte definitely has a throat-ripping set of pipes, with plenty of melodic crooning thrown in as well; and has the rhythm section to back him up. The kickoff track “Death in My Arms” has all the ingredients for a proper taste of things to come: Lightning-quick guitar work, double-bass kicks, Swedish Metal-esque breakneck tempos and mosh parts that would make SLAYER proud. Despite a sometimes thin production in terms of the drums, other tracks such as “For Salvation” bulldoze and slaughter with adroit songwriting and technical prowess, much like labelmates LAMB OF GOD. However, ALL THAT REMAINS have crafted a record that would indicate they grew up not only listening to 80′s thrash, but spent a greater part of the last few years hanging out with KILLSWITCH ENGAGE. While the SHADOWS FALL similarities are none too obvious — a factor which might cause outcry from some fans — the proof is in the pudding with This Darkened Heart: it is, by any standard, one hell of a heavy metal record. (Prosthetic Records)

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