Tuesday, July 26, 2011

All Else Fails - The Oracle - What Was, Is, And Could Have Been

All Else Fails
The Oracle - What Was, Is, And Could Have Been
Suicidal Bride Records

It’s hard to really stand out as an individual within today’s metalcore scene, especially when almost every new act that emerges out of the overpopulated scene claims originality, only to sound like a clone of some of the bigger name acts that tower above the masses. But it’s not impossible to present listeners with something a little different, and proof of that is well and truly evident in the sound that Canadian (St. Albert, Edmonton, Alberta based) band All Else Fails produce.
Following on from an independently released self-titled E.P. (2006), a live C.D./D.V.D. (2007’s ‘Of Ashes And Accusations’) and a full length album (2009’s ‘Against The Darkening Sky’), the four piece act (Comprising of vocalist/guitarist/programmer Barrett Klesko, guitarist Mike Sands, bassist/vocalist Seedy Mitchell and drummer Tom Wolf) have finally unveiled their latest release ‘The Oracle - What Was, Is, And Could Have Been’. And to put it in simple terms – it’s a pretty solid release.
After a lengthy orchestral/band introductory piece (Which is unimaginatively titled ‘Overture’, but definitely a very cool start to the album), All Else Fails gets things underway with ‘This World In Flames’. As the title that adorns the album hints at in the most subtlest of ways, ‘This World In Flames’ represents a piece of the band’s past, with this version a re-recording of the same song that appeared on their debut E.P. Sound wise, there’s plenty of heavy and upfront guitars in the band’s sound, but what separates All Else Fails from most acts is the different keyboard sounds that run throughout the track, the mix of light and shades in terms of tempos, and the careful mix of both clean and growled vocals utilised throughout the song. Sure, the production isn’t a million dollars, and the clean vocals do sound a little weak in places, but there’s no mistaking the fact that underneath the mask of imperfections, there is a good song there.
Outside the acoustic version of ‘This World In Flames’ that appears in the latter half of the album, Fallen’ is the other older track that has been given a revisit, having only previously appeared in live form on their live C.D./D.V.D. The studio version is definitely a worthy reworking of the live favourite, and shouldn’t disappoint those who are already familiar with the original.
In terms of the ‘Is’ in the album title, this album does consist mostly of new tracks, and plenty of gems amongst them, including ‘Twilight Of Mankind’, ‘Monster Eats The Pilot’, the crushing ‘Rebirth’ and the symphonic/metallic based stand out effort ‘Obsidian Walls’.
Making up the remainder of the album (‘Could Have Been’) is a fairly faithful cover of Alice In Chains’ ‘Sludge Factory’, and a totally bizarre tune titled ‘Robots!!! KOLTG’, which was apparently supposed to be included on a game, but was obviously never used.
After sitting through an endless supply of metalcore acts that seem to all originate from the same song writing pool, it’s refreshing to hear an act like All Else Fails who obviously strive for a sound that is different from most.
Sure, ‘The Oracle - What Was, Is, And Could Have Been’ has some flaws, and not everything on the album is quite up to scratch. But if I was offered another rehash of something I’ve heard a million times over or this album, there’s no question All Else Fails would win every time.

For more information on All Else Fails, check out - http://www.allelsefails.ca/

© Justin Donnelly