Artist: All In
Album: Lost – EP
There is a difference between just trying something and striving for it, attempting with the most complete culmination of your effort to achieve it. When you truly put your all into an attempt to become or achieve something, the result becomes a part of you—more than just a reflection of your effort, but a goal you’ve worked to make synonymous with your identity. Maybe that’s where Mississippi-based melodic hardcore outfit All In get their name from; as their music is an astounding result of powerful songwriting infused with the sort of passion that only comes with blood, sweat and tears. Just over fifteen minutes long, it would be folly to let the relatively brief runtime for Lost dissuade you—because what lies within its five tracks are vividly illustrated tales of trial and tribulation that any listener who is familiar with struggle of any kind can assuredly relate to.
Many melodic hardcore bands don’t do a true justice to their name—simply stringing together a series of simple breakdowns with basic chords and atmospheric “melodies” that miss their mark; this is especially true of bands new to the style. However, All In quickly align themselves with veterans of the genre like Hundredth, borrowing slightly from Modern Life is War to create a sound that flows from up-beat patterns and punchy two-steps to colorful climaxes that leave the listener in awe—all without abusing monotonous breakdowns. Percussionist Dylan Lee guides the band, ripping and tearing with more stamina than the Energizer bunny. The opening number, “Capsized,” sees Lee relying on more basic, Cathy patterns that let him work intimately with bassist Seth Colson. However, faster tracks like the titular “Lost” sees Lee at his most frantic, going from a rapidly—but steadily—beating kick drum to a dancy, dynamic pattern that makes the chorus just that much catchier. During the rip-roaring “Lost,” Colson doesn’t try to match Lee beat for beat as much as he serves to join together Lee’s percussion with the quick chords and fast-paced riffs from guitarists GraysonAmacker and Matt Parham. Amacker and Parham are never predictable: even during their heaviest moments—where their synchronized use of chords and harmony best define the EP’s “breakdowns,” they often fill the empty space with flashes of furious fretwork. The introduction to “Vacant” is a great example, as Amacker and Parham dance around Lee’s bouncy drumming effortlessly, adding color and creativity to the track.
While All In’s musicians do, indeed, give Lost their all, the most tangible source of passion, emotion and energy comes from vocalist Jared Daws. Daws is a dynamic and brilliant frontman, dominating a majority of the EP with a hefty, harsh shout that is intelligible enough for the listener to understand, but grisly enough to add weathered, worn aggression to every syllable. “Capsized,” once more, is an excellent example; as the track begins with Daws shouting the opening lines almost as if he in the midst of a confession—only for the song to pick up and allow him to get swept up in the current. When Daws isn’t shouting with a hoarse voice, he’s singing with a smooth but realistic croon. With minimal production, Daws cleanly sings choruses on just about every track of Lost, with “Capsized” and “Lost” being the catchiest. Frequently letting his voice break and waves, his cleanly sung-yet-unbridled emotion gives each All In song a warm, gentle core—unveiling that underneath the gritty, raw sentiment, Daws is truly airing his innermost fears and thoughts.
In the contemporary world of heavy music, a band that doesn’t punctuate their songs with exclamation points in the form of chugged out breakdowns seems like it may be doomed to fail—as even “big name” melodic hardcore bands have been known to rely on them to keep their claws firmly entrenched in their hardcore fanbase. All In, however, challenge that notion—and to great result. Powerful, passionate music that doesn’t rely on the listeners beating each other senseless, Lost is emotionally relevant, even if it lacks the visceral, carnal energy brought by dissonant heaviness. Whether it’s the chorus to “Capsized,” or the entirety of “Vacant,” some portion of All In’s debut is bound to find a home in the listener’s head for an extended period of time—as found somewhere at the crossroads of catchy, creative and emotionally crushing, All In are a band who may claim they’re lost, but are well on the way to making a name for themselves with a unique and immersive sound.
For Fans Of: Modern Life is War, Worthwhile, Until We Are Ghosts, Hundredth
By: Connor Welsh