With the devastating passing of lead guitarist Oli Herbert just weeks before its release, there’s an inevitable emotional weight attached to the Massachusetts band’s ninth album.
Coming just a year after the appropriately titled mess of Madness, Victim Of The New Disease was promised to be a much heavier experience, and the band certainly deliver on the bludgeoning percussion and frantic picking of opener Fuck Love, resurrecting a sound and attitude All That Remains had seemed to have consigned to history years ago.
Blood I Spill’s tight interplay and twin harmonies descend into brutish breakdowns, while Broken’s simple but catchy refrain and Wasteland’s excellent choice of riffs and soaring chorus are Killswitch-esque metalcore at its best, with Oli’s sublime lead breaks standing front and centre.
Such is the success of the more melodic and largely sterile path the band have taken since The Fall Of Ideals gave the declining metalcore movement a kick up the arse 12 years ago that an outright return to yesteryear may have been too drastic – yet the new injection of fire has certainly rejuvenated their trademark approach.
Everything’s Wrong hits the anthemic bullseye they’ve so often aimed for but rarely hit, while even the acoustic Alone In The Darkness stands up to the muscular Misery In Me surrounding it. However, Just Tell Me Something’s attempt at a lighters-in-the-air power ballad with Danny Worsnop is a dreadful misstep, and Phil Labonte’s weak vocals on I Meant What I Said, followed by the lumpen arena metal of the closing title track end the album on a disappointing anti-climax.
There’s more than enough to suggest the slide in form has been addressed, but the tragic situation the band find themselves in means Victim Of The New Disease now poses more questions than answers.
For Fans Of: Killswitch Engage, Five Finger Death Punch, Asking Alexandria