All Else Failed
Now Or Never
Of all the idioms falling under the heavy music milieu these days, metalcore • or, more specifically, the ambivalently defined “noisecore” strain of it • seems to be going the strongest, both in terms of creative vitality and the sheer number of bands plying this jackhammer trade. With the latter qualifier, there comes an oversaturation point, and noisecore is quickly eclipsing it, where everybody is ripping off everybody else. All Else Failed are not one of those bands. Not all that new to the scene (all the songs here were written between early ‘97 and late ‘99, with four being previously released in different form and with a different lineup), All Else Failed nonetheless make their high-profile debut with Archetype, their second long-player overall, being given the good blessings of having The Dillinger Escape Plan’s Benjamin Weinman in the producer’s chair. Well, All Else Failed don’t sound anything like the Plan • as far as this microcosm goes, but non-metallers will probably say it all sounds like the same racket • but instead maintain a similar vaguely art-damaged attack, this Philly four-piece savoring seemingly off-kilter stomps singed with tense loops of dissonant riffery and a generally loosely slung chaos. Likewise, they aren’t afraid to show an experimental side, lacing the proceedings with both scorched electronic tones (“Your Days Are Numbered”) and unresolved piano chords (“Did You Think of Me?”); they even have the balls to get all preciously emo on the bittersweetly melodic “In Time” and “Route 1.” One drawback, however, is frontman Luke Muir’s vocals, which, as incensed as they are, often grate monochromatically like a drill sergeant’s bark; fortunately for him, he can pen some acidicly acerbic lyrics (from the entirety of “Stray Bullet”: “If I could blame a single thought, I’d label it a stray bullet/A stray bullet, in purest form, doesn’t think/It does its job.”). Mildly flawed, but succeeding nevertheless, Archetype is a worthy addition to this increasingly interesting can(n)on.