Album Review – All Else Fails / The Incident at Black Lake EP (2022)

An award-winning Canadian Metalcore act returns to their DIY roots with their musically and lyrically dark brand new four-track EP.

Over the last 15 years, Edmonton, Alberta-based award-winning Metalcore band All Else Fails has become a cornerstone of the Melodic Heavy Metal community in Canada. Combining intense riffs, intricate rhythm sections, brutal guttural screams, and melodic yet unusual vocal lines paired with relevant and relatable lyrics, their message resonates with us all, and now in 2022 it’s time for vocalist and guitarist Barrett Klesko, guitarist John Saturley, bassist Coco Lee and drummer Nelson Collins-Lee to return to their DIY roots by mindfully abandoning their social media and redirecting their energy to contributing to their local metal scene by building a direct personal connection to their fans and followers, living in line with a humanist philosophy and encouraging a culture of support between artists, culminating with the release of a new EP entitled The Incident at Black Lake. Produced by All Else Fails, mixed and mastered by Bevin Booth at In The Booth Recordings, and displaying a somber artwork by Indonesian illustrator and graphic designer Zulmi_m, The Incident at Black Lake is musically and lyrically dark according to Barrett himself, who complemented by saying that “I think this EP is beautiful, there is elegance in darkness. I think it’s sad because I know the turmoil and pain it took to write it, and I think it’s powerful because it’s the first time I have truly been honest in my music.”

A cinematic intro grows in intensity until all hell breaks loose to the demented screams by Barrett in I, Defiler while Coco brings sheer groove to the sound with his low-tuned, metallic bass, resulting in classic Metalcore alternating between pure savagery and melodic, ethereal moments, all spiced up by its background Symphonic Deathcore elements. Then another imposing start morphs into the Metalcore and Deathcore feast entitled Devour The Sun, offering our ears over eight minutes of slashing riffs by Barrett and John while Nelson hammers his drums in total sync with the bass by Coco, overflowing heaviness, intricacy and harmony, not to mention Barrett does an amazing job on vocals as usual; followed by Flesh /Excess /Wealth, another multi-layered, detailed aria masterfully brought into being by the quartet. The guitars by Barrett and John exhale fire throughout the entire song while Nelson’s beats add an extra dosage of complexity to the music, being therefore  perfect for banging your head nonstop and singing its lyrics together with Barrett. Lastly, the band puts the pedal to the metal as the closing song of the EP, Crystal Mountain, is just as violent and melodic as its predecessors, blending Metalcore with Progressive Death Metal nuances, with all band members showcasing their refined skills until the very last second and with Nelson stealing the spotlight with another ass-kicking performance on drums. In addition, its background epic sounds are simply fantastic.

The Incident at Black Lake might be “just” a four-track EP by All Else Fails, but its 25 minutes of music are absolutely intense and electrifying, proving why they’re undoubtedly one of the most important names of the Canadian Metalcore scene. Hence, don’t forget to give the guys from All Else Fails a shout on Facebook and on Instagram, to stream more of their music on Spotify, and to purchase a copy of The Incident at Black Lake really soon from their own BandCamp page or from Apple Music. As already mentioned, there’s a lot of darkness flowing from the music and the lyrics found in the EP, and that’s exactly what makes it so compelling, showing that their decision to channel their energy into their local metal scene and “forget” about social media will bring tons of benefits to their career.

Best moments of the album: Devour The Sun and Flesh /Excess /Wealth.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2022 Independent

Track listing
1. I, Defiler 5:48
2. Devour The Sun 8:24
3. Flesh /Excess /Wealth 5:36
4. Crystal Mountain 5:19

Band members
Barrett Klesko – vocals, guitar
John Saturley – guitar
Coco Lee – bass, backing vocals
Nelson Collins-Lee – drums