As Canadian metallers All Else Fails escorts the passions on a hungry and richly satisfying trip through new EP Fucktropolis, you soon realise that the eclectic R.I.Y.L. in the promo for the record was not merely casting a wide net to pull people in but actually an accurate call on the diverse sounds parading their sinews upon the release. Listed are the likes of Killswitch Engage, In Flames, Cancer Bats, and Five Finger Death Punch, and in the EP all those essences can be heard as rich spices within something which is not exactly drenched in originality but offers an intensively riveting encounter setting thoughts and emotions aflame.
Hailing from Edmonton, Alberta, All Else Fails has carved out a big reputation certainly in North America for their constantly evolving and vibrant sound and live performances which has seen the band alongside the likes of Protest the Hero, Cancer Bats, Dayglo Abortions, 3 Inches of Blood, Fear Factory, Threat Signal, Decapitated, Suffocation, and many more as well as numerous festivals. Their previous releases, especially 2011 album The Oracle, What Was, Is And Could Have Been, have equally earned strong acclaim whilst the band itself has garnered nominations at the Edmonton Music Awards for the past two years. Now the quartet of vocalist/guitarist Barrett Klesko, bassist/backing vocals Seedy Mitchell, guitarist Mike Sands, and drummer Shane Tym, return with was is claimed to be their heaviest and most expansive release yet. The Suicidal Bride Records released Fucktropolis is a tremendous proposition, one which though not quite flawless leaves a determined hunger to keep band and their releases entrenched within future horizons, with some retrospective investigation too.
First track AntiMartyr emerges from behind a vocal sample wrapped in musical drama. It is not long before riffs and rhythms add their menace to spark a smothering rise in intensity and immediately enterprise and temptation grip thoughts and senses. Soon the track takes full hold as guitars carve out a weave of sonic manipulation and a fury of riffs driven by ravenous basslines and now fully imposing drum volleys take aim. The harsh vocals growl and scowl with excellent lure and expression, reaping the aggressive sounds for further intent. It is not all about ravaging the ear though as equally excellent clean vocals and acidic melodies spiral around the muscular hulk of the song to offer a full range of rich flavour and variety. The technical strikes of the guitars jar and crack on bone with riveting relentlessness locked in compelling craft whilst the array of vocal delivery keeps things moving and evolving within song and thoughts.
The following Better Left Undead unravels a precise groove from the off, additional melodic flames searing the surrounding air before holding sway as the gruff vocals graze the surface of the lyrical narrative, soon replaced by again accomplished clean persuasion. They are a moving target which never settles in to a singular gait, much like the music, and it all adds to a continually intriguing and appetising proposition. The song itself is strongest when its rage is lit but the mellower and sultry washes within still leave hunger greedy to immerse its teeth into the emotive meal. As the intensive face of the song returns with a Bloodsimple feel to its caustic breath the song leaves the flight of the release as potent and enthralling as its predecessor started it.
La Demencia Violenta with its sultry mystique swirling behind the again rigid framed rhythms and steely riffs is a provocative wash of metallic bite and sonic colour, the smouldering heat of the vocals initially swapped for a full fire of sizzling syllables and spite coated words. There is an underlying lure to the song which calls persistently even when the track savagely bites at the ear, imagine Palms meets Five Finger Death Punch, and though arguably it is in the shadow of the rest of the EP, the track burns and lingers perfectly, especially its jabbing compelling riffs.
The final two songs are simply the pinnacles of the release. Firstly Obedience At The Altar of Sacrifice steps up face to face with the listener, its passion brewing from behind a mesh of brightly hued guitar sculpting and rhythmic building. Limbs and neck are soon in eager union with its rapacious energy and torrential gait, though again melodies and harmonies as well as descriptive keys all have a defined place in the brawling storm. It is a scintillating blaze of heavy and corrosive, one which simultaneously scars and seduces with skilful majesty, but one instantly challenged by the following triumph A Most Unwanted Reprieve. The track is just anthemic metal at its very best, group calls roping in the passions as riffs and drums set addictive trap after trap in the unbridled charge of howling invention and sinew clad imagination. The best track on Fucktropolis with its almost schizophrenic avidity, it is the perfect end to an outstanding release. Actually it is not quite the finish as there is the hidden track The Deep Roads, but as it is just a brief schizo reprise of the opening to the previous song, it is not really something to be discussed, though it did raise a grin.
Fucktropolis is simply great, a release which has limbs, senses, and passions leaping in tandem with its metallic adventure. If this is the direction and future ahead of All Else Fails, there will be exciting times as the band places themselves on the front line of world metal.
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