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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," Labonte explained.

Aaron Patrick, previously in Bury Your Dead and Devildriver, was her replacement.

All That Remains rolled out their eighth album, "Madness," two years later. "It's gonna challenge you," stated Labonte of the '17 release. "There are songs like nothing we've ever done before."

Just before their next album arrived, Herbert died at age 44. The cause of death was listed as drowning in a pond on his Connecticut property. He had apparently been self-medicating for manic-depression. Anti-depressants and a sleep aid were found in his system.

Herbert appeared on nine studio albums, including '18 release "Victim Of The New Disease," which dropped just weeks after his passing.

The album marked a return to the band's early Metalcore sound, as opposed to their recent radio-friendly Metal.

Driving the point home was the unrelated '18 news that the single "Two Weeks" had been certified gold by the RIAA - the group's first - ten years after the song's release. "It's awesome. It's super cool," stated Labonte.

Later in the year tragedy struck. Herbert died (10/16/18) at the age of 44. He was found in a pond on his property in Connecticut under what were termed "suspicious" circumstances.

Guitarist Jason Richardson was enlisted for the upcoming tour. Labonte said the first concert without Herbert was "weird" and particularly difficult.

"Oli lived and breathed Metal," added Labonte. "He loved everything about being in a band and touring and everything. He definitely would have wanted us to keep going and keep carrying on his legacy."

Months later, the band announced that Richardson was an official member. "(He is) his own man, with his own style," explained Labonte. Richardson had been a touring member for three months.

All That Remains Discography


2002 Behind Silence And Solitude
2004 This Darkened Heart
2006 The Fall of Ideals
2008 Overcome
2010 For We Are Many
2012 A War You Cannot Win
2015 The Order Of Things
2017 Madness
2018 Victim Of The New Disease

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."

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