"The Oracle, What Was, Is And Could Have Been"

By Professor Jocko

It seems that it is impossible these days to find something that truly jumps out at you, with so many bands that try to out-do each other in some way, shape or form. This is where they may try something with a gimmick of some kind, or  perhaps a notorious member of the band that goes above and beyond what may be needed musically. As we explore further into our metal core library, All Else Fails does have some qualities that set them aside from other bands of this genre, yet remain true to certain typical characteristics.

Your first introduction to the album is an instrumental called "Oracle", which is a somber keyboard piece that has a dark, yet flowing vibe to it, something like a requiem…perhaps something that they may use as an intro at a live show as they take the stage. There are several other areas where they use this type of sound, which really seems to break up the monotony of the song and make it a little less ordinary. As the next song starts, titled "This World In Flames", you now realize that this isn’t a concerto, but a band that borders on its death metal roots, which mixes fluid keyboards and string instruments with crunching vocals and a chugging rhythm section. There are some brief moments that seem somewhat typical with the growling vocal style, but that is perhaps secondary to the music.

As the album progresses, one thing that becomes more predominant is that several songs start with some type of short intro of piano, strings, or a combination of both. Although it adds variety to the song, it becomes a little tiresome after the third time. In defense of this, the song itself always bursts into a powerful piece that appears to rescue itself, if you will. Songs such as "Rebirth" and "Sludge Factory" get progressively further away from this, though, and add some needed diversity to the LP with a slower rhythm that is almost reminiscent of earlier 90’s alternative music. I feel that this not only makes these guys more versatile musically, but also gives listeners something other than a “cookie-monster” vocal style. These are probably my more liked songs on the CD for these reasons. One of the shining moments, in my opinion, is the acoustic version of the song "This World In Flames", which really brings out another side of All Else Fails that gives the band more depth and renders them less two-dimensional.