All That Remains To Discuss Is A Whiny Lead Singer Whose Controversies Far Outshadow His Band’s Bland Music
It’s difficult to talk about radio-pandering band All That Remains without examining the rampant controversy-fueled comments by frontman Phil Labonte. Admittedly I’m no expert — yes, I’ve heard my colleagues from this here site and our sistas-from-other-mistas over at Metal Injection hurl “Labonte” as an insult to each other from time to time (explanation here)… but somehow I missed the boat on the dramatic context until now.
If you have avoided all things ATR like the plague as I have, you’ll probably need a refresher on some of the ridiculousness spewed by this guy Labonte…
For starters, in 2011 he publicly called fashion casualty Black Veil Brides’ singer a “FUCKING FAGGOT” on social media. Classy.
Following the inevitable backlash deeming him a homophobe, he clumsily tried to justify his slur on his Facebook/Twitter feeds and again in a Revolver Magazine interview the following year by claiming “…if it really offends you when someone says ‘faggot’ you need to man up. It’s just a word.” Classier. In one regard he’s got some semblance of a point, but where’s any sense of humility? His flippant justification led some in the metal blogosphere to realize that Labonte may not be a homophobe after all, but simply an ignorant idiot.
Then in the Summer of 2013, Labonte felt the need to confront his biggest detractors Metal Injection on Twitter… but he stupidly attacked the wrong website. Sheesh. I have always been disappointed by musicians (especially those posturing as supposed “baddasses” not giving a fuck) who troll their own reviews/criticism so hard that they feel the need to rebut with pernicious, schoolyard insults. But it’s far worse if they don’t even pay attention to who they’re shitting on.
And just a couple weeks ago, Labonte opened up his stupid mouth AGAIN to inexplicably imply that gay people don’t have the right to be offended by slurs, and that privilege belongs solely to black people. Of course it doesn’t stop there (never does) — then he just had to go on to defend himself and his use of the word “faggot” by leaning on the freedom of speech, missing the point altogether. This guy seriously won’t quit his parade of idiocy.
Now why am I rehashing all these silly situations in what is supposed to be an album review, you might ask? Well the answer should be obvious to anyone who has actually/unfortunately heard All That Remains — it’s simply because the band’s music is so downright saccharin, derivative, and altogether boring that this space is much better served entertaining our readers with some juicy tidbits of Labonte’s inane dramatic rants. I mean, isn’t that a huge reason why the guy goes on such tirades anyway, to accrue such notoriety that ATR’s music becomes almost irrelevant and his antics will still be reported on by the press? Or is he really THAT ignorant and tasteless?
Says the man himself: “‘I just get a kick out of being an antagonist. When it comes to rubbing people the wrong way, I don’t care who I offend….So if the metal world is looking for a bad guy, I’ll be that guy.” This ding-dong should have just been a wrestler instead.
It becomes even more difficult to take the band’s music seriously when Labonte casually defames the genre as a whole, claiming that “There’s nothing edgy about metal anymore” and furthermore that his lame, middle-of-the-road band has “transcended ‘metal’ and have become ‘musicians.'” So hopefully you can see why it is a large-scale challenge to approach this arrogant asshole’s weak creative output with any modicum of open-minded seriousness. I mean, don’t get me wrong — if the album was amazing I certainly wouldn’t let a foolish vocalist’s antics get in the way of warranted praise.
But frankly, what can really be said about All That Remains’ latest “metal”-by-numbers offering The Order of Things with a straight face other than that they’re from my dad’s hometown of Springfield, Massachusetts? For anyone who may be interested in music as an art form or even simply an enjoyable listen, this album should certainly be avoided at all costs. However, if you’re a “deep” frat guy that wants to feign sentiment alongside your all-too-typical chugga chugga breakdowns, maybe this can be the soundtrack to your next date rape.
Well, to be fair — there are a few moments of technical proficiency on the part of lead guitarist Oli Herbert and drummer Jason Costa (any relation to Torrential Downpour drummer Peter Costa?), but chief instigator Labonte continually ruins any semblance of legitimacy with a whiny, auto-tuned melodic vocal performance and cookie-cutter cookie monster growling that sits in one place the whole time.
Again, the guy should really be much more selective about what drivel comes out of his mouth. But really, who cares about the efforts of such a whiny little faggot?
All That Remains’ The Order of Things comes out Feburary 24 on Razor & Tie. You can pre-order a copy here.