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Fifteen years ago, in July 2006, All That Remains released one of metalcore's most essential records: The Fall of Ideals. The Massachusetts crew's third full-length launched the band into the national spotlight — thanks to its grip of killer songs including "This Calling," "Six" and "The Air That I Breathe" and the band's relentless touring behind the album.
The Fall of Ideals was a pivotal and defining moment for All That Remains — which then featured vocalist Phil Labonte, late lead guitarist Oli Herbert, rhythm guitarist Mike Martin, bassist Jeanne Sagan and drummer Shannon Lucas — that helped secure the band's position as one of the giants in the metalcore scene
We recently caught up with Labonte for an extensive video interview about The Fall of Ideals and the exciting era that surrounded it. Below, we present seven things you may not have known about All That Remains' metalcore classic.
1. The Fall of Ideals was drummer Shannon Lucas' one, and only, All That Remains record … but his impact was long-lasting
The Fall of Ideals marked a few firsts for All That Remains. It was the band's first album to crack the Billboard 200 (at Number 75) and also the group's first outing with the new rhythm section of bassist Jeanne Sagan and drummer Shannon Lucas. Lucas' tenure with the band was ultimately short-lived and he departed before their next album, 2008's Overcome, to join the Black Dahlia Murder. But the highly skilled drummer had a big impact on The Fall of Ideals' sound — so big, in fact, that finding his replacement proved to be much more difficult than Labonte expected.
"That was the only record he did, and it was fast. He was in and out," says Labonte of Lucas' tenure in All That Remains. "I spoke to him a couple years ago, just after Oli passed away, and we kinda touched base. There was no hard feelings or anything about him leaving. We didn't want a situation where someone was unhappy with what we were doing. And he wanted to play that death-metal kinda stuff. He wanted to be in a band like Black Dahlia. … But, I was really really happy that he brought that element to [All That Remains.] It did make it challenging finding someone to replace him. It took us awhile to get Jason Costa … We had people filling in on tour after Shannon left, but there was always something they couldn't get. Shannon was a phenomenal drummer. … Back then he was just top notch. It was cool to work with him … There was never a time when we were like, 'Play this fast,' and he was like, 'No, I can't.' It was extremely … freeing. It takes a lot of worry off. You know that the guy who's going to play drums is going to be able to hit home runs. We were really really lucky to have him be a part of that record."
2. The Fall of Ideals was ATR's most "relaxed" session with producer Adam D.
Killswitch Engage guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz's history with All That Remains stretches back to the band's earliest days. He co-produced their 2002 debut, Behind Silence and Solitude, and helmed its 2004 follow-up, This Darkened Heart. Adam D. was behind the board again for The Fall of Ideals, but, as Labonte recalls, this time the sessions were much more "relaxed" than previous efforts.
"We knew Adam for a lot of years," says Labonte. "Obviously we're from the same area and I played in bands with Adam. I filled in on guitar in a band called Aftershock, which was like the precursor to Killswitch. … So being friends with him there was a certain comfort level. But he's definitely always been very, very serious about music and about getting things right and making sure the performances are what they need to be to put out a good-quality record. The first record we did with Adam was This Darkened Heart in 2004. We kind of went to him with a bunch of ideas and said, 'How do we make these into good songs.' And that was the first time we had a producer really work with us when it came to structure and melody ideas … So when we got to doing The Fall of Ideals we showed up with our ideas and were kinda expecting Adam to be like, 'Well change this and change that.' [But] there was very little … that he thought should change. He was like, 'Yeah, this is all good.' He would let us know his opinion on things, but it wasn't like, 'You guys have a rat's nest of ideas that I need to pull apart and turn into legitimate songs.' He was like, 'Alright, these are all songs … things are well in order.' He was serious, but it was probably a more relaxed time than doing Darkened just because … we came and our ducks were in a row."
3. "We Stand" was originally supposed to be an instrumental
The Fall of Ideals' fourth song "We Stand" is a hard-charging, melodic anthem that finds Labonte delivering powerful lyrics of defiance, self-reliance and fortitude: "Seasons change me/But they won't change my core/I have struggled I've fought for less." The singer's message is so resolute that you might think he'd been refining his lines for quite a while. But, in fact, it was exactly the opposite: up until the last minute "We Stand" was going to be an instrumental.
"There were some surprises," says Labonte. "There was a song that I thought was going to be an instrumental. And then Adam was like, 'Go home and write lyrics to this tonight, because this is not going to be an instrumental. And I was like, 'Shit!' [Laughs] … And that turned into 'We Stand.'"
4. Phil Labonte was in a good spot in his life, which was reflected in his lyrics
The Fall of Ideals contains some seriously uplifting bangers, including "The Air That I Breathe" and "It Dwells in Me." These rousing messages weren't just aspirational platitudes, they were rooted in the real-life optimism that Labonte was experiencing in his personal life at the time.
"I didn't feel like I was agonizing over anything" Labonte recalls of writing the lyrics for The Fall of Ideals. "I felt like I had a lot of things to say and a lot of stuff I wanted to get across to people and I was in a really really good spot in my life. And I felt … things were so optimistic and we were very excited. So that's why there's so many songs, like 'The Air That I Breathe,' that are just about overcoming challenges … 'It Dwells in Me' ... those songs really kind of speak to making the most out of your situation. And that was kinda where I was … things felt good and it felt really natural … It was a special time."
5. Some kid beat Oli Herbert playing "Six" on Guitar Hero II
Back in the mid-Aughts, the Guitar Hero video game franchise was blowing up, and inclusion on its soundtrack was a super big deal for heavy bands to get far-reaching exposure outside of the typical channels. All That Remains scored when "Six" was chosen to appear in V2 of the play-along musical game. Labonte recalls an awesome worlds-collide moment when a young fan challenged lead guitarist Oli Herbert to a run-through of "Six" on Guitar Hero II — and summarily bested the guitarist at his own song.
"When they told us, 'You're going to have a song on Guitar Hero' … I was like, 'That's one of the coolest things I've ever heard in my life!'" Labonte says. "The idea of having our song in a video game … and it's about playing the song. Kids are going to play it and learn the song. … It was a huge, huge thing for us. The fact that it was, I think, the second-hardest song on the game on expert meant that kids just drilled it into their heads. They sat there and played it over and over and over because they wanted to beat the game … and you can't beat the game unless you play all the songs on expert. And Oli understood that very quick. When we were doing our first headline tour, it was early 2007 in January, the record had been out for six months, and … We were having kids come up on the bus and play Guitar Hero with us. Oli played against a kid, and the kid kicked his ass. And Oli was like, 'I am not having that!' … He was miffed … And Oli spent many days just practicing like a madman until he could beat 'Six,' on expert. … It had to be perfect. He eventually did because he had that kind of discipline … But he was not having it when he got beat by that fan. [Laughs] It was a lot of fun to watch."
6. "This Calling" was born from a double-bass speed test for their new drummer
"This Calling" was released as the debut single for The Fall of Ideals. The stirring ripper wasn't just a fan favorite — it also got tapped to appear in some cool soundtracks (see entry 7 below). While the song eventually became one of the group's most celebrated tracks, Labonte recalls its origins being less than auspicious. In fact, the cut just sorta "fell into their laps" after an exercise they presented to their new drummer Lucas.
"'This Calling' just came together in a second," says Labonte. "That was written before we went and sat down to write the record. We wrote that because Shannon had just joined the band and we had never really had fast double-bass. Our previous drummer Mike — that wasn't his niche. His thing was rock drumming … We wanted to get someone that would essentially play death-metal drums. It wasn't that we wanted to have all death-metal drums, but when we wanted to have them, we wanted someone who would accomplish that. So when Shannon joined we were like, 'So how fast can you play double-bass?' He was like, 'Well about this fast…' So Oli was like, 'Alright, I'll just do this …' And the song just kind of fell into our laps really really quickly. … And we were really excited to go record it. That one came together really fast."
7. "This Calling" got a solid horror-movie bump
"This Calling" gained additional exposure thanks to its appearance in the soundtracks for a couple horror gems: Saw III and Masters of Horror II — much to the delight of horror fanatics Labonte and Sagan.
"Myself and Jeanne were most into horror movies … and probably Jeanne more than me. When I was growing up I was into horror movies … For me it was cool, Jeanne was probably more into horror movies than I was at the time, so it was really cool. They were like, 'Yo, we're gonna put this in [Saw]'. And having such a gory video — the Saw version of the video — was pretty cool. I like the Saw franchise. [The first] Saw was cool with the games … but by the time Saw III came out I was like, 'Alright, they did this already.' [Laughs] But I'm a huge fan of [George] Romero zombie movies from back in the day, and they're all the same: now we're stuck in a house, now we're stuck in a mall … and there are zombies outside and they're going to eat you. It's all the same thing, but I like them, they're fun."