All Else Failed was formed in the summer of 1995 by Patrick Shannon, Luke Muir and Steve Wiegand. Originally, the youngsters were long on ambition and short on skill; early shows often times consisted of trashed equipment and interband fist fights. The band quickly developed a unique sound, however, one that at the time was called "metalcore" (back when that term actually applied to bands that took equal influence from hardcore and metal). The band cut its teeth in the burgeoning East Coast scene, sharing the stage on numerous occasions with such legendary bands as Ink and Dagger, Deadguy and Vision Of Disorder.
A 7-song demo was laid to tape in late 1995 in which 4 of the songs were used for a self-titled 7" in early 1996. This recording session is featured in its entirety (for the first time ever) on the compilation album entitled Good Enough For The Girls We Roll With (along with other unreleased demo tracks) which was released in 2006 on Thorp Records. I digress.
They released their debut album, "A Most Bitter Season", in 1997 on Temperance Records. The album was heavily influenced by Deadguy's signature raging "noise-core" with its own brand of insane mood swings. The album boasts a subtle groove underneath all the fury. This offering would be followed up in the summer of 1999 with the In Times Of Desperation EP released on Alone Records. This album was re-mixed as part of the 2006 release on Thorp I mentioned in the last paragraph.
They signed to Now Or Never records in 2000 and released their second album, "Archetype", in 2001. The album was produced by notorious Dillinger Escape Plan guitarist, Ben Weinman. The band took their first forays into extensive touring, seeing the band share stages with the likes of The Dillinger Escape Plan, Darkest Hour and Mastodon. The touring took its toll, however, and the band once again was reduced to the three original members.
In 2002, however, Dave Davies was introduced on guitar and breathed some fresh air into the band. At this point, the band began piecing together material for their third record, 2004's "This Never Happened". Still without a full time drummer, the band enlisted Chris Pennie from the Dillinger Escape Plan to perform the lion's share of the drum tracks for "This Never Happened". Soon after that record's release, Chris introduced the band to one of his students, Jimmy Rhodes, who has been with the band ever since. They hit the road again, sharing the stage with bands like Lamb Of God, A Life Once Lost and the Minor Times. After a hiatus in the later part of 2005, the band decided to lay down three new songs in May of 2006 for the "demo compilation" album put out by Thorp Records. Nothing formulated amidst the recording of the new tracks ... until 2011, that is.
The band decided to play a one-off reunion show at This Is Hardcore Fest in 2011 that I was fortunate enough to witness. The intensity displayed was exponentially more sincere than anyone else of the weekend and was a true testament to the era and area in which the band came from. The band also recorded several tracks again in 2011 as a limited EP that I did NOT get a chance to pick up. If anyone has a link to where I could either download or purchase ... please leave a comment with said info.
With a live show not capable of being denied or ignored, I have no fucking clue why I slept on this band for so long. Don't get me wrong, All Else Failed has been one of my favorite metalcore bands for at least five years now, but I went at least five years prior to that knowing full well who they were without truly appreciating the insanity that the band encompasses. While I had the entire discography as well as many missed opportunities to see the band live, it wasn't until the band was long gone that I really "got it".
Some of the band's earlier material takes a while to digest; especially if you're not from the fine state of Pennsvylania. While some native to the area are partial to the band's earlier material, the band's musical progression truly took off around the time of the Archetype album in 2001. Personally, my favorite tracks from All Else Failed come in the form of tracks 1 through 3 on the final CD released by Thorp Records. These were the final three tracks to ever be recorded by All Else Failed as the band split sometime in 2006. In fact, I decided to simply post a video of one of their final shows as opposed to trying to describe the intensity of the band. I'm going to leave the post at this and simply hope you enjoy yet another criminally underrated metalcore band from the east coast.
DOWNLOAD - A Most Bitter Season (1997)
DOWNLOAD - Archetype (2001)
DOWNLOAD - Split with Bad Luck 13 Riot Extravaganza (2003)
DOWNLOAD - This Never Happened (2004)
DOWNLOAD - Good Enough For The Girls We Roll With (2006)