Published Nov 08, 2018Any attempt to review Victim of the New Disease will be overshadowed by guitarist Oli Herbert's tragic passing on October 17 of this year. With his cause of death and All That Remains' future unclear, it would be easy to forget about the new album. But that would be too bad — Victim of the New Disease is not just Oli Herbert's swansong, it's the best thing All The Remains have released since 2006's Fall of Ideals.
The mix of emotions is what makes this album tick. The last decade of All That Remains material has often trod the line into Five Finger Death Punch/Godsmack chauvinism, which makes the blood-drenched throwdown "Fuck Love" so exhilarating. Phil Labonte hasn't shredded his voice like this in years; the song's final moments sound like he's trying to dislodge a monster from his throat. Juxtaposed against "Everything's Wrong," with its eerily prophetic opening line of "I don't want to write this, cause if I do it might be true," the effect is hair-raising.
To say All That Remains are returning to their roots would oversimplify things. They have returned, but much smarter and more experienced — it's given their old formula new life. Take "Wasteland," which balances Killswitch Engage choruses with djent bends that sound like Meshuggah jamming with Pantera. And that's not even mentioning "Just Tell Me Something," where Oli embraced his inner Sunset Strip god for the last time.
Victim of the New Disease has jerked All That Remains out of a decade long lull, which is what makes Oli's passing so much more heartbreaking. Please, All That Remains, for the love of God, don't break up now. This is your Cliff Burton moment. Rise and carry on in Oli's memory, and your fans will reward you a million times over. You've just written one of your best albums ever. Don't let it be in vain. (Razor & Tie)