Published Sep 01, 2004The elusive entity known as All Else Failed are back with their Abacus debut, a near-epic (read: long) album mixing up the best elements of technical math-core, straight-up hardcore and melodic, even sung, passages. And although the variety is the albums biggest fault (it gets a bit distracting at times), its also the reason why this is such a refreshing listen. By emphasising the potential for melodies and hooks only hinted at on previous offerings, this Philadelphia-based quintet has created something truly different than what their peers are constantly churning out. But All Else Failed has been doing this for much longer than your current batch of Hellfest clones, and it shows, be it through the interesting guitar ideas, the daring vocals or the addition of a good amount of clean, even acoustic, moments. It should be noted that most of the album features the drumming skills of Chris Pennie, from the Dillinger Escape Plan, which only helps take this one over the top. Although their history has been filled with line-up changes and break-ups, with an album as impressive as This Never Happened one can only hope All Else Failed will stick around to reap the benefits.
Is the band line-up solid and here to stay now? Guitarist Patrick Shannon: Id love to say wed do it forever, but as optimistic as we all are, were also realistic. Depending on how well it goes, this very well could be the last one. I mean, were cool with that. Most of my favourite bands put out two records; were putting out our third, so were one up on em.
Has having Pennie on this album been a good or bad thing? It was definitely a good thing. The only bad thing is the people who think this is "Chris Pennie featuring All Else Failed, which is definitely not the case. These are All Else Failed songs and this is an All Else Failed album.
This album has a bit more prominence placed on the clean vocals and melodies. What brought this out of the band? For the majority of the recording, we had no idea what we were even going to do with the finished product. That led to us shedding any preconceived notions as to what the record should sound like. We weren't thinking of anything beyond putting great songs on tape. (Abacus)