All That Remains talks the state of metal, selling out

By: Roger Hoke – News Editor

Almost every fan of music has gone through a heart-breaking period when they feel that their favorite band has changed for the worse and fundamentally “sold out. All That Remains, a Massachusetts-based metal band, has had its fair share of such allegations from hardcore fans. Lead vocalist Phil Labonte took a minute to confront this subject, the overall state of metal in an exclusive phone interview with Flyer News.

“We’re a metal band, from the tones we use, and the style we play, it all has it’s roots in metal,” Labonte said. “We don’t go out there trying to act like we’re changing the world. We go out there and we’re like, ‘look man, we’re just here to play some songs and have fun.’”

Since the group’s inception, every record has had a heavy sound, rooted in metal. But with the last few album releases, fans have taken to the Internet stating that the band has lost touch with its ways.

“What I would personally say [about those people] is that they’re idiots,” Labonte said. “Most of the time when you get that, you’re talking about people that are like, ‘why don’t you make the same thing that you made before,’ and you’re talking about music.”

Labonte feels that the music is going to change just as the person who is writing changes throughout the course of their life.

“It’s a reflection of where you are at that time, so asking why we didn’t put two records out that are similar enough for Joe Questioner is like asking why have I changed in the past few years,” Labonte said. “Everybody changes, and if people think that everything in your life is going to be static, then you’re an idiot.”

Labonte said that the people who claim his band is a sellout do not approve of the music they make, and that “sellout” is just a term they use to state disapproval.

“Regardless of the direction the change was, if it was a change they approved of then we wouldn’t be sellouts,” Labonte said. “If it’s a change they disapprove of, they use the term the sellout to relay their disapproval – the term sellout doesn’t have a meaning any more than the person listening doesn’t approve.”

Over the past few records, Labonte has gone from using a heavy amount of screaming, or “unclean vocals” in his music, to using more melodic singing in his material. He claims that the only difference is in having to write a melody, whereas with screaming, there is no need for that process. However, he said music with screamed vocals doesn’t have a place in mainstream music.

“It is not pleasing to as many people, as people who like screamed vocals think it is,” Labonte said. “Just because you can find 15 friends who say, ‘I agree with you on this,’ that doesn’t mean it’s a majority.”

The newest All That Remains record, “The Order of Things,” was recently released to generally positive reviews from critics. Labonte shared his thoughts on the album’s first two singles, “This Probably Won’t End Well” and “Tru Kvlt Metal”.

The first single was all about how so many people have a time when they say, “hold my beer and watch this; this is a terrible idea, but I’m going to do it anyway.” The next single was also sarcastic in its meaning.

“[Tru Kvlt Metal] is a sarcastic song,” Labonte said. “There are people that are gonna tell you all day long that ‘band x’ is the best band ever, and they write great records and cool songs, and there’s other people who listen to a different genre of music better, especially in metal, and they’re gonna say ‘That’s not real metal, only the bands I listen to are real metal.’ And there’s the elitist perspective of that’s not true metal, this is true metal, that’s false metal. And those stupid arguments are what it’s talking about.”

Labonte thinks that there are plenty of people online who will say they don’t like the record, but they are the same people who say the band sold out.

On a lighter side of the band’s history, it was featured in the 2006 game Guitar Hero 2. Many people who are not fans of the band heard the song Six played in the game.

Labonte said he was not involved much when the song was being featured, but he was happy with the result.

“To be honest with you, I have no idea how it happened other than the record label said,’ hey we talked to this company and they want to use one of our songs,’” Labonte said. “It turned out to be a really big thing for us partially because the song has a really cool guitar part in it, but when you apply a song like that to a video, everyone wants to beat the game, and on expert mood it was one of the hardest songs, it was the second hardest song, and when they played it over and over, it drills it into there head.”

The band will be on tour for the next month supporting their newest record, and will be playing shows it feels are fun for anyone to come and see. For more information, please visit allthatremainsonline.com.