The band All That Remains paradoxically can be called both “radio stars” and “underground legends.” Their heavy-metal stylings made them kings of the underground, while their catchy pop vocals landed them radio play—with their music put in movies and even Guitar Hero II.
After nearly 25 years of creating, the band is revisiting 2006’s The Fall of Ideals, performing the album in its entirety on their current tour, which features a stop at the Cargo Concert Hall on Saturday, April 16.
“It’s kinda like being in a weird time machine with some of the songs,” guitarist Mike Martin said during a recent phone interview. “We really haven’t touched, like, half of this album in 15 years, so it’s really cool. There are a lot of songs I really enjoy playing that we haven’t done in a long time; there’s even a song called ‘Empty Inside’ on The Fall of Ideals album, and this is the first tour that we’ve ever played it.
“It’s fun to play some different songs, because typically, to keep everybody happy, the set doesn’t change for us. We kind of know what’s done well over the years, and we kind of just shuffle that batch of 15 or 20 songs around. This time around, we get to break out a handful of songs that we really never do. For the band, it’s cool. Some people in the crowd are definitely just like, ‘What the hell is this?’ There are people that do love the entire album and know every song.”
In late 2018, founding member and lead guitarist Oli Herbert was found dead behind his home; the circumstances of Herbert’s death remain under investigation. The band has yet to release new music since his passing.
“We messed around with some skeletons of songs, but it’s going to be the first album without Oli, so it’s going to be very, very different,” said Martin. “Oli was a huge part of the writing process. We’re just playing it by ear. We don’t have a ton of stuff done, but we’re going to do that after the tour.
“Our friend DL (Daniel Laskiewicz), who is singing in Bad Wolves, produced our last album, and he’s a friend who lives right near our hometown, so we kind of just go to his house and just work on some very, very basic ideas. It’s strange not having Oli around, but it’s nice to have DL around to help lay down some ideas and get an idea of what’s going on. We started some stuff with him, and I think if he has any time in the summer—if he’s not on tour—we’re going to go back with him and keep cracking. Jason Richardson (All That Remains’ lead guitarist) is finishing up his solo record, so he hasn’t really been involved yet, and it’s just a matter of timing for everything to come together. You’d think we should have had one done after 2 1/2 years of a pandemic, but we actually took a little break, just because we’ve been doing an album and touring for 20 straight years. It’s just nice to take a year and just not do anything.”
Martin admitted the band’s constant schedule was weighing on him.
“In 2019, I felt like I really needed a rest,” he said. “It was the first year touring without Oli, and everything just felt weird. I had a couple of other things in my personal world that were really difficult to deal with, and I was completely getting, like, ‘Wow, I hate touring right now.’ After 2020 hit, I had time to sit back and realize that I’m really lucky to have that job. You do just need a bit of a break sometimes, so I sat around for a year watching Netflix, had a kid, and got the batteries recharged.”
All That Remains’ unique history—with successful radio singles in the 2000s, followed by underground success in the 2010s—is “a little weird,” Martin conceded.
“You’ve got people at the shows wanting to hear The Fall of Ideals in its entirety, and then you’ve got people there who are just. like, ‘Why are they not playing ‘Thunder Rolls’ and all these big radio songs that go gold?” Martin said. “We’ve always been kind a personality-disordered band, and we’re pretty used to it at this point. … You’re not going to keep everybody happy. We want to keep ourselves happy and make sure the people who come to the shows have a good time, and that’s it. That’s all that really matters. Sometimes we want to do something super-heavy; sometimes we want to write an ‘80s power ballad, so we just do what we want. It’s worked enough over the years for us to keep doing this as a job.”
All That Remains has not necessarily always stayed under the “metal” umbrella, as over the years, their sound has included hints of punk and electronica.
“The (songwriting) process was always the same. It was just like, ‘Get in there,’ jamming at full volume, and the songs just kind of came out the way they came out,” Martin said. “Whoever wrote whatever had kind of an idea of where they wanted to go, and we’ve got a lot of people in the band with a lot of different tastes, and we end up a lot of different varieties of metal or rock or hard rock—whatever you want to call it.”
While Martin was not a founding member of the band, he joined All That Remains in 2004, a few years before band became a big success.
“There was still a four- or five-year grind of vans and sleeping on other bands’ hotel-room floors,” Martin said. “There was definitely no rush into any kind of success. We put This Darkened Heart out (in 2004), and we toured on it for two years, and we made moderate progress, but there was nothing going on there that was like, ‘Oh, man, this is your full time job.’ It was really when The Fall of Ideals came out that it was like, ‘All right, now things are happening.’ The first four years for me were cool, and I was getting to tour and stuff, but, like, I had to keep selling all my belongings so I had money for food.”
Don’t expect All That Remains to tour while playing any of their other albums in their entirety.
“Overcome came out after The Fall of Ideals and was a very, very big record for us, too—but I don’t think it was as big in its entirety,” Martin said. “Next year is the 15th anniversary of Overcome, and I feel like if we went out and played that whole record, there would be a lot of dead spots, because people would know just ‘Two Weeks’ and one or two other songs. It’d be us playing, like, seven or eight other tracks, and people would be like, ‘Man, I have no idea what the hell’s going on.’ I don’t think any other record as a whole would be worth playing live in its entirety. I could be wrong.
“You’ve got iPhones, and now you’ve got stupid fucking Instagram and TikTok, and nobody can pay attention to anything for more than 30 seconds. So no, I don’t think it’s really worth it much more for people to do full-record shows. … We’re having a great time doing it, and there are the people in the crowd who know it. It is funny to watch people flip out and be like, ‘Oh my God, every song was perfect!’—but it still looks like there are some confused faces.”
All That Remains will perform with Miss May I, Varials and Tallah at 6:30 p.m., Saturday, April 16, at the Cargo Concert Hall at the Whitney Peak Hotel, 255 N. Virginia St., in Reno. Tickets are $27.50 in advance, and $30 day of; the show is all-ages. For more information, visit www.cargoreno.com.