California hard-rockers All Good Things may be a new name to many, this being their debut album, but they have been raising various roofs since their formation in 2013. The new lease of life comes on the heels of a record deal with Better Noise Music last year, which was surrounded by mixed emotions – “We were super excited at being able to take our music to the next level with a record label,” they explain, “but at the same time, devastating wildfires were destroying much of California and people were losing their homes and everything they owned.” However, it doesn’t take much listening to their powerful, grungy sound, to realise this is exactly where they’re coming from – every track is an homage to valour against the odds, a fighting anthem with blood on its lip and fire in its heart. Album opener Kingdom comes across initially like Clutch, with howling vocals interspersed with sung sections – it features two vocalists, one shouting from the background, one delivering the defiant message. By the end, we’re thinking more of Foo Fighters, with vocals fighting to be heard over a power metal back line.
Other influences are in play though, with second track Hold On presenting more electronic beats, coming on like a hard rock cover of some Ibiza anthem. Their best-known track to date is For The Glory, featuring Johnny 3 Tears and Charlie Scene of Hollywood Undead. Another defiant hymn of resistance, think of a heavied-up Imagine Dragons, crossed with nu-metal rapping. And so it continues, with every lyric either offering a pumping chant against giving up, or threatening retribution to any who dare to attempt oppression. Influences appear from all angles, hip-hop, Mumford folk, even electric Bhangra in the intro to Push Me Down, but always subsumed into the hard, grungy, power chords that overwhelm everything else.
Machines is the most memorable track for this reviewer, in which post-apocalyptic humans have been hybridised as armoured robots, the better to take the battle to the enemy. This also features some unexpected fast guitar work, which actually pokes its head above the battlements two or three times over the course of the album.
Other guest spots include Texan rapper Hyro the Hero on Do It Now, and Craig Mabbitt of label-mates Escape The Fate, on their follow-up single The Comeback. Our heroes start the song defeated, having lost a battle – but never the war, as they consolidate and unite for the return confrontation. End Of The World is another highlight, with the protagonists uniting to survive exactly that, regroup and rebuild. The set ends on the title track, the closest thing to a power ballad, an ‘even when everything is lost, we are never beaten,’ kind of thing, with anthemic choruses and some harmony guitars. I love the ending to this, as it winds up with some amp hiss and a kind of crunching ‘turn-off’ sound.
The band’s inspiration lies heavily in apocalyptic video games and blockbuster action movies, which all makes sense when you hear it; you might as well go up against Steven Seagal as try to beat them back.