Philip Labonte - All That Remains
It was so damn cool to interview Philip Labonte, again, as we have become friends with him and all members of All That Remains, ever since we first met them over two years ago. They have a new album out, and this was the fourth time we would see them live.
Phil has overcome a great many obstacles over the last few years, and his band has truly persevered, securing their success. They have heeded this calling, and become the catalyst to such great promise. This darkened heartfelt passion is why so many follow them with one belief, and instant clarity; namely that All That Remains is the sign of true passion, never to be undone!
MettleAngel: Hey there brother, good to see you again! Congratulations on another excellent forthcoming release! Last time, we were going to do an interview, but you were so ill.
MettleAngel: Yes, that is correct, Shannon had departed, and joined The Black Dahlia Murder, whom we'll see with Bodom in a few weeks. There is so much I want to ask, but I understand you are inudated with interviews, and it is the bass player of Trivium - Paolo Gregoletto's birthday, as well.
MettleAngel: Sounds good, but I won't waste any more time with idle chit chat. As you recall, when I first met you in 2006, I felt in my heart that ATR would be a success. You front a very talented bunch of eclectic musicians. You, yourself, have such excellent stage presence. You exude so much energy, with a presence of enthusiasm and angst.
MettleAngel: You really leave your mark, you look like you are totally into each moment, and your vocals have improved so much over the years.
MettleAngel: You definitely deserve to be #1, and Skeletonwitch, another very diligent act, should be just a few steps behind. You have been faithful to Prosthetic, as well, releasing all albums on their label. I guess you are gratefull that Overcome hits stores this Tuesday, and Metallica hit stores yesterday. On Tuesday, your only rival will be the hurrendous Buckcherry, whom I saw on Crüefest, and they were god awful. There is also a live album from Avenged Sevenfold, but I'm sure ATR will trounce their competition.
MettleAngel: Yeah, I heard they moved a million on the release day alone!
MettleAngel: I guess that is true, as those bands are more rock oriented, and ATR is dubbed Metalcore, even if you transcend that label. It's not like Trivium facing off against Bleeding Through on Sept. 30th. I feel Overcome will still chart well. Slipknot debuted at #1, and Hatebreed #1 on DVD Music charts. Are you selling the CD early while on tour?
MettleAngel: I agree, all those sales will enhance your soundscan chart position. I just received my promo copy Thursday, and I'll review it to correspond with this interview.
MettleAngel: I agree! I also noticed that Oli is selling his own signature guitar tablature book, at the merch. booth. He is such a great guitarist, yet so humble. his solos are absolutely amazing on Overcome. In the midst of an onslaught of so many Boston based bands, ATR impress me the most, next to Shadow's Fall, of whom you originally sang. There is so much diversity in the playing. You have progressed. I remember when your style was more straightforward deathlike, in the vein of say Malevolent Creation, or Arch Enemy. By the way, have you hear the Overcast which was just re-released? It features Brian Fair, as well as the cats from Killswitch. This was their early 90's era band, before all the Boston Metalcore hype.
MettleAngel: Your knowledge of so many musical styles from Hardcore, to Death metal, is what gives you such an edge. As I began to play Overcome, once it arrived, the opening track made me think you were going for a Chuck Billy vibe on "Before The Damned". Then again, I had just spun "The Formation Of Damnation", so his style was present in my thinking.
MettleAngel: Ahh, yes, now that I've heard it a few times, I do hear Glen Benton; although, there is no inherent evil in your tone. That is another point, which I want to make. Your lyrics have really matured over the years. I respect the subtle ambiguity on Overcome, which allows the listener to discern for himself the meaning, behind the music. I find it notable, how you can fluctuate from brutal base cadence, to midpace clean. Even your lowest register, is still understandable.
MettleAngel: (Laughing) I'm sorry, when you mention Howard Jones, my generation recalls the 80's New Wave singer, with the funny hair. I'm not that into Killswitch, but I do see what you mean, and I congratulate you on a noble effort. It all pays off in the long run, because, I enjoy the manner in which you attentuate your vocal presence.
MettleAngel: Well, you've created your own vocal histrionic and character. Now, I'm sure this is becoming a question asked, 'ad naseum', but I have to know for myself, why chose to cover Nevermore's - "Believe In Nothing"?
MettleAngel: As a fan of Sanctuary, one who tolerates Nevermore, that does not cut it, so elucidate, kindly.
MettleAngel: Honestly, I've struggled to understand why so many love Nevermore, and why a band like Communic would copy them so much. I too, love what Warrell did with Sanctuary, and his early efforts with Nevermore, but the music became so modern, and boring to me. Warrell stays away from me when I see him live, and he knows my sentiment. He still promises to do a revised "Eden Lies Obscured" on the next Nevermore release. His latest solo album was so over-rated!
MettleAngel: Really, how so?
MettleAngel: I do like it, and probably more than the original, as you have a different vocal approach, altogether. I would also have liked to hear the Cannibal cut. Tell me a little what it is like working with Jason Suecof for the first time.
MettleAngel: He already does, producing so many reknown acts, and playing in so many projects, like Crotchduster. He has produced and worked with so many great bands like Trivium, Sanctity, Cynic, etc. He has such a great work ethic. It is sad how he suffers from the Jason Becker/Jeff Becerra syndrome. I think his production on the latest Kataklysm is astounding. How is it working with your new drummer Jason Costa, formerly of Dyecast?
MettleAngel: Like on new Metallica....
MettleAngel: I've also noticed that like your former albums, you have kept the running length to about 40 minutes. This laconic approach does allow for multiple rotations and more listening enjoyment, though.
MettleAngel: Trivium are playing new songs, as well, probably because their album comes out September 30th. They are such a different band than All That Remains.
MettleAngel: The thing with Trivium, is they are more thrashy, but like Metallica, their songs are longer. All That Remains have that Hardcore edge, with more punchy abbreviated melodies. Actually, speaking of Death Magnetic, there is not a song under seven minutes, and yet they never get to be boring. I'm grateful that bands like Trivium have gained so much recognition, that Metallica finally wised up and wrote such a killer new album. I love it. I just watched the video for "The Day That Never Comes", which I assumed was about spousal abuse, but the war in the Gulf themes permeated as well. With Death Magnetic, Metallica have proven to their fans that they still have a few tricks up their sleeves. Oops, I'm deviating again...
MettleAngel: Well, again Phil it was great to speak with you, even if only briefly. Once again, congratulations on another excellent CD. I'm sure the show tonight will kick ass!
(After I finished speaking with Phil, and his Tour Manager ushered him to his next appointment; since we were already backstage, Bassist - Jeanne Sagan & Drummer - Jason agreed to answer a few questions.)
MettleAngel: I saw a Warped Tour sampler at Best Buy, but I did not see All That Remains listed on there.
MettleAngel: You played here in Cincinnati at Riverbend. I'm sure those new fans will be in attendance this evening.
MettleAngel: You also issued a DVD and a Live album last year, so I'm sure you sold a ton of merch. As a female in a very popular US Metal band, it seems like you get hit on by a lot of dudes. I find this peculiar, as you act just like one of the guys, anyway. It's not like you were featured in any one of The Revolver - "Hottest Chicks In Metal" B$ issues, which have ignored plenty of megablast babes. Hello, Doro! What about Sabina Classen, or Sabine from Edenbridge, woops, lost track for a minute, sorry....
MettleAngel: I agree, it's like you have become Sean Yseult of White Zombie, or D'Arcy of the Smashing Pumpkins. Thanks again for handling a few questions. (Then Jason comes up to me...)
MettleAngel: Well, yeah Phil and I were
MettleAngel: I think your drumming crushes on Overcome!
MettleAngel: You sound stoked!
MettleAngel: Well, we'll have to catch you on that one as well!
MettleAngel: Well Jeanne, Jason, and all members of ATR, it is always an honor to talk with you guys (and girl). I love hanging out, on and off the record. I've been encouraging all my friends to get the new CD this Tuesday a Best Buy. I'll be reviewing it to post in accord with this interview.
MettleAngel: Well, I'll try to top that with my kind words for Overcome. Thanks again!
See also: review of the album Overcome