ALL WE’VE KNOWN – Dissidence
Hasn’t everything been said, sang and played in metallic hardcore, already? The Port Elisabethan quintet of Vaughn Botha (vocals), Shaun Manley (guitar), Dillon Jones (guitar), Joseph Quinn (bass) and Russel Sneyd (drums) thinks it hasn’t as they take Killswitch Engage-sque patented melodeath/hardcore structures, Linkin Park-ian clean vocal melodies and nu-metal stylings of Slipknot (Robbed) while dousing it all with copious electronics for a brand new genre – nu metalcore. Cynicism aside, mixing clean melodies, death/thrash-like opaque riffs with electronics is what nu metal was all about with genre pioneers such as Staind, Deftones and, especially Spineshank, so All We’ve Known is not exactly poised to "Break The Cycle" (2001), playing "Around The Fur" (1997) but are rather "Strictly Diesel" (1998), respectively. Nor is the fusion of nu metal and metalcore particularly innovative, as bands such as Machine Head or Soulfly switched from the former to the latter according to the fad of the day and some even think of the two genres as one and the same in different clothing. If that is the case then "Dissidence" is proof positive.
It’s not like All We’ve Known are bad songwriters or musicians. "Halfway" is a primary example of their skills, richly melodic and memorable, it is one of the instances where the "loudness über alles" production, which kills much of the underlying details, does not seem to do much damage. Not so with "Between Two Worlds" with heavier and more unintelligible guitars so heavy and loud they bury the intricate "they’re probably there but I’m more feeling than hearing them" details, the problem already hinted at in the very Killswitch Engage-sque "Robbed", where the magnifiscent chorus is, well, robbed, of its fullness because of the sloppy mix, which, sadly, is not the only problem. While the 6th track, "Oversight" built around the same pattern and similar riff as Killswitch Engage’s "When Darkness Falls", is a decent tune, from then on until the closing title track All We’ve Known is some of the most boring, uninspired, cliché and simplistic metalcore since All That Remains’ "Overcome", complete with the Chris Barnes-like low gutturals (Perfect Disguise). The aforementioned closing title track is a much needed breath of fresh air but it’s too little, too late at that point.
Whether there actually is a nu metalcore genre or not is anyone’s guess, but if there is, then All We’ve Known can proudly line up with As I May and Heart Of A Coward. They’d be wise to ask themselves, though, first, how long do they want to stay in this line, second, are they sure they can see where it leads?