All But One – Square One

Band Name: All But One
Album Name: Square One
Rating: 4/5
Distributor/Label: Lifeforce Records
Distributor/Label URL: http://www.lifeforcerecords.com/
Released: 28/04/17
Buy Album: https://www.impericon.com/en/catalog/product/view/id/280947/s/all-but-one-square-one-special-pack-t-shirt/
Band Website: http://www.allbutone.net/

All But One Square One

Band Line-up:

Máté Bodor – Guitar,
Joe Carter-Hawkins – Vocals,
Karoly Alapi – Guitar,
Péter Lerch – Bass,
Christian Bass – Drums.

Track Listing:

1. Square One
2. Persistence
3. For The Waiting Good
4. Coloured In Vivid
5. Hope Fuel
6. Little White Lies
7. The Reaper, The Sower
8. Fire Sale
9. Serenity

Review

Note the make-up of ALL BUT ONE consists of members from band’s such as HEAVEN SHALL BURN, ALESTORM, WHEN OUR TIME COMES and ex-ATMOSPHERES. It seems surprising to think that such acts could coalesce to form a band that doffs the imaginary cap to mainstream pop. Such sentiments will certainly set the proverbial cat amongst the pigeons of metal elitists. But is ‘Square One’ perfect pop-metal or an unholy mess?

A word of warning to the legions of metalheads who baulk at the idea of clean vocals being anywhere near their metal, much less infectious pop-esque melodies being present: leave now. Joe Carter-Hawkins’ performance makes for a delightful modern metal record. The soaring vocal lines that weave their way through the likes of “For The Waiting Good” will bore a home inside your brain and refuse to leave barring invasive surgery. It takes a heavy inspiration from pop music, but good grief does it work!

Yet metal aggression is still evident in the instrumentation – just listen to the syncopated blasts in “Coloured In Vivid”. It provides evidence of a band who know exactly how to craft a song. There’s no song too long or too short; they are as they should be and perfectly packaged. There’s even a touch of growling during the blast beats of “The Reaper, The Sower” for you scream-only folk, so something for everyone!

The production is balanced enough to allow for melody and metal to sit ably side-by-side, though it does at times feel a little too polished. Not quite to the extent that some modern producers slam a track to death with compression, but it is a touch loud. Yes, loudness may be the point of metal, but dynamic range is a valued asset these days. Additionally, opener “Square One” suffers a tad from a rogue cymbal that creates a rather harsh assault on the ears. Mercifully, this isn’t prevalent throughout but it certainly makes the listener sit up from the outset.

ALL BUT ONE may feature members from heavier bands indulging in pop sensibilities, but this debut is by no means lacking in beefy riffs. The fact that pop and metal are woven together so tastefully is joyous to behold. It won’t convince the philistine elitists to give something more mainstream a try, but this would perform well for both regular radio and as moshpit fodder. Start at ‘Square One’ and you’ll be humming this for days.

Review by: Lee Carter
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