In case you haven’t figured it out during the past 15 years, All That Remains frontman Phil LaBonte has no trouble tweaking noses in the music world and beyond. “I like to push people’s buttons,” LaBonte acknowledges to Billboard. “It’s fun for me.”
He certainly has a good time, then, on the Massachusetts hard rockers’ forthcoming seventh studio album The Order of Things, due Feb. 24 — particularly on the track “Tru-Kvlt-Metal,” a determined slapback at haters and outsiders who want to dictate how the band should sound. Listen to an exclusive premiere of it here.
“It’s really sarcastic,” LaBonte notes. “It’s really directed towards the people that we’ve heard year after year, record after record, saying, ‘Oh, put out another record like (2006’s) The Fall of Ideals. We’ve done that, and even if we did it, some purist would say it’s tarnished anyway because we’ve already done it. You can’t win, so (the song) is kind of like flicking my nose at them and giving them the bird.”
And it’s not like LaBonte needs a great deal of provocation to raise those middle fingers, either. “I’m the guy who, if you say, ‘No, you can’t do that,’ I like to go ahead and do that — unless it’s like, ‘No, you can’t jump off a cliff and fly.’ I get that,” LaBonte explains. “It’s just that people get so worked up about such inconsequential things, you know? People getting beheaded in the Middle East, that’s a consequential thing. Charlie Hebdo in Paris, that’s a consequential thing. Whether or not our record is heavy enough by some kid’s standards who has a blog? Who cares? So I’ll say something, and the way things go people will get pissed off for a minute and then someone will jingle their keys and everything looks the other way. There’s a shiny thing over there, so the attention changes and everyone forgets — ’til the next time.”
LaBonte and his bandmates set out to make The Order of Things as something people will pay attention to, however. Working with hands-on producer Josh Wilbur, the 12-track set features some of the most straightforward and melodic ATR material to date; LaBonte even likens a song like “Divide” to “a Van Halen kind of vibe.” And there’s a good deal more singing than screaming or growling.
“I think that’s something Josh kind of brought out a little more in us,” LaBonte acknowledges. “He kinda pushed me a little more vocally and lyrically to do a little more than I’d done before and focus a little more on performance. I guess there are some bands that want to carry the standard for metal and they worry about, ‘Is it metal enough?’ But we’ve never been those kind of people. We write music for us, and if we write music it can’t help but sound like All That Remains but maybe not JUST like what other people think it should be. But we feel like, ‘If you don’t like it, screw you…’ “
All That Remains plans to spend a good year and a half on the road promoting The Order of Things, according to LaBonte, starting Feb. 20 with In Flames. The group will be part of Seether’s Rise Above Fest on May 9 in Bangor, Maine, and has another North American trek that will be announced soon for the spring. European festivals are on tap for the summer as well as a possible North American package, with a European tour slated for fall and Australia and Japan also on the horizon.