All That Remains

The Order of Things

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2012's A War You Cannot Win found the Springfield, Massachusetts-based rockers shifting away from the punishing melodic metalcore sound of prior studio outings and engaging in a hot and heavy affair with radio-ready modern rock. Their seventh long-player, The Order of Things, comes clean about those past transgressions and more or less demands to be served divorce papers, effectively doubling down on the commercial elements that made its predecessor so divisive among the group's longtime fans. Bookended by a pair of epic heavy hitters ("This Probably Won't End Well" and "Criticism and Self-Realization") that strike a nice balance between the old band and the new, the 12-track set is more or less an attractive-looking sandwich filled with factory-farmed cold cuts and a generous amount of cheese. Cuts like "Bite My Tongue," "The Divide," and even the muscular single "No Knock," fail to engage in any kind of meaningful way, confusing volume with power and soaring choruses with emotion. The worst offender, "Tru-Kvit-Metal," even goes so far as to call out those who have cast doubt on the band's authenticity, and does so amidst a barrage of alt-metal tropes that must have taken minutes to conjure. The aptly named The Order of Things does what it does with great precision and plenty of hooks, but enduring it is a bit like playing a first-person shooter in God Mode; it's fun for a little while, but the lack of danger eventually wears thin, and before you know it you're loading up the next game.

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