SHADOWS FALL

"Retribution" (Everblack Industries; 2009)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

Ever since I heard Shadows Fall (I found them after "The War Within" was given to me) I just can't get enough. I mean these guys emphatically stomp and if you require music that moves the tectonic plates you can count on Shadows Fall to deliver with each and every release.

They stand tall on this most recent offering (as if slouching is allowed by this band, I think not!). The intro of acoustic guitar is only to used to make you lean in closer but, beware! Track 2, "My Demise," will blast your hair back and then the nasty guitar with squeals that follows will cause fits.

This CD has some intense guitar on it and, with time changes aplenty, it never lets up. The solos, intros, bridges and fillers scream with metal fury; the galloping rhythm is brutal on so many levels. Shadows Fall cover the song "War" by Bob Marley. I should say they "smother" it with their own style and bring it up to level 11. The drums are incredible as always. Jason Bittner pounds the skins while thumping the double bass with machine gun beats.

The vocals have a good balance of the scream and sing ratio. When force is needed, Brian Fair lets loose the demons that live inside him and when he sings he's got a great metal voice. There is some harmony on a few songs and they sound a little different than you might remember. With a fair mix of boulder rolling cuts and heavy metal rockers this disc is a great way to finish out 2009.

Some extra stuff is included if you get the deluxe edition: more cover songs (one of Ozzy Osbourne's "Bark at the Moon), live songs from a couple of music festivals, guitar instructional videos, a drum lesson. I recommend spending the extra dough to get it.

Shadows Fall: Brian Fair - vocals; Jonathan Donais - lead guitar; Matthew Bachand - rhythm guitar; Paul Romanko - bass; Jason Bittner - drums. Randy Blythe (Lamb Of God) is the special guest vocalist on the cut "King Of Nothing."

For more information, check out http://www.shadowsfall.com.

"Threads of Life" (Atlantic; 2007)

Reviewed by Snidermann

Heavy metal has a strong ambassador in Shadows Fall. Their newest release, "Threads of Life" is another shinning example of this band's killer work. 

I bought this release the first day it was available and I've been spinning it continuously since then and it only gets better each time I listen to it. 

"Threads of Life" not only rocks hard and heavy, but the CD also features a power ballad that works on many different levels. The music is alive with emotion and voracious energy that is extremely addictive. 

"Threads of Life" leaves nothing behind; everything here is set out to be explored and enjoyed. The more I spin this disc, the more I like it. There are nuances on each track that reveal themselves each time I listen. 

With "Threads of Life," Shadows Fall might have one of the very best releases of 2007.

For more information visit http://www.shadowsfall.com.

"Fallout from the War" (Century Media; 2006)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

This disc might have been overlooked by the casual fan. It has songs written for, but never released on, "The Art Of Balance" (2002) and "The War Within" (2004),  plus three covers of bands that Shadows Fall make heavy metal faces at ("December" by Only Living Witness, "Mark Of The Squealer" by Leeway and, one of my favorites, "Teasn', Pleasn'" by Dangerous Toys). Toys' Lead singer Jason McMasters even lays down some vocals to nod at Shadows Fall.

The fact that you don't have to wait for a box set or jump through any hoops to get this disc is cause to give the metal horns \m/! Just because these tracks didn't make it onto the previously mentioned discs doesn't mean that they are crappy, thumbs down cuts by farl; they are spiked metal monsters and more Shadows Fall in your music library is always a good thing.

Listed as a companion piece to "The War Within," these songs were demos but Shadows Fall went back into the vault and gave these songs more attention thus merging past with present.

"War does not determine who is right, only who is left." Bertrand Russell.

Shadows Fall: Brian Fair - vocals; Jonathan Donais - lead guitar; Matthew Bachand - rhythm guitar; Paul Romanko - bass; Jason Bittner – drums.

For more information, check out http://www.shadowsfall.com/.
 

"The War Within" (Century Media; 2004)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

"The War Within" was my first venture into Shadows Fall territory. I just may set up camp there and never leave. 

The intensity of this band is beyond measure. The guitars are what I’ve been missing in my musical journey thus far. The sheer brute riffs that these guys play is the reason thrash metal gets, and keeps, its namesake. The vocals are extreme as well. I’ve shunned away from the screamo groups because the music should match the mood, not battle for it; so when I spun this shining disc, I had no idea what I was in for. Now I’m excitedly researching their previous works.

Their music is classic heavy metal; it stretches your mind while it rams its stone head right at you. Shadows Fall remind me of early Metallica and Slayer. These guys just intensify everything and play at a breakneck speed. I just love the progressive style they put forth, and their hostile attitude bloodies the nose of anybody who dares to tag them with the word, “core.”

The twin guitars fill a void that most bands don’t have, and the riffs rumble buildings into dust. The drums gallop along and it helps to imagine a team of wild stallions destroying countryside in their wake. Heavy, black, death and power metal is what you’ll get if you jump into this tornado called Shadows Fall.

The song “What Drives The Weak” has some great singing on the chorus; it shows that they have embraced the true metal style. “Stillness” has a solo that ... well, I’m just speechless.

The coolest thing about this disc is that it’s a CD/DVD combo. They’ve included a couple of guitar lessons and a drum lesson, too. A chapter titled, “Stepping Outside The Circle” and a couple of live tracks are also included. If you are thinking of starting with this band, might I suggest getting as much for your money as possible? This was a great start for me.

For more information, check out http://www.shadowsfall.com or http://www.myspace.com/shadowsfall

"The Art of Balance" (Century Media; 2002)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

I had high expectations for Shadows Fall's third full-length effort, "The Art Of Balance," and I was not disappointed.

"The Art Of Balance" exhibits Shadows Fall's continuing maturity without lessening their stranglehold on high energy metallic riffing. If anything, "The Art Of Balance" features more thrash oriented elements than their last effort, "Of One Blood." Yet that's not all. In the vein of the title's 'balance,' Shadows Fall have crafted some unique tunes with compact rockers, straight thrashers, songs that feature the tone and timbre of ballads, and sprawling epics. 

However, leaving many of the band's hardcore influences in a less prominent role has not contained their impact – Shadows Fall can still hit you between the eyes with plenty of power. The high level of quality on each of the tracks is rare indeed. It's almost as if you could have ordered the album's eleven tracks in any way and you'd still get the feeling that it was crafted specifically to leave the greatest impact on the listener. There are a lot of diverse elements on "The Art Of Balance" and the band does quite a good job achieving balance of the varying elements.

Brian Fair's vocals convey emotion in a manner befitting a veteran vocalist; Fair's lyrics of unity and togetherness are a bright hope in the often depressing subject matter plied by most metal bands. Guitarists Bachand and Donais spring forth like coiled serpents with their inspired riffing and twisting rhythms and lead interplay. The rhythm section is solid throughout; actually, I may be selling the rhythm section a bit short – they keep it interesting at all times.

A very metal version of the Pink Floyd classic "Welcome To The Machine" ends the disc – Shadows Fall have made the song their own with their unique metallic stamp.

"The Art Of Balance" was produced by Zuess.

Shadows Fall: Brian Fair on vocals, Jonathan Donais on lead guitar and backing vocals, Matthew Bachand on guitar and vocals, Paul Romanko on bass, and Jason Bittner on drums.

For more information visit http://www.shadowsfall.com

"Of One Blood" (Century Media; 2000)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

I'd caught Shadows Fall at the March Metal Meltdown II in New Jersey so I knew what to expect on this major label debut. "Of One Blood" is remarkable - CDs don't get much better than this.

"Of One Blood" is in fact a sophomore effort (but it's no sophomore slump, that's for sure) and trades death metal fare for something more elegant yet still top notch. Hardcore resolve, metal fury, and technical competence exude from every pore of Shadows Fall's music - never have so many relevant forms of heavy music been combined into its own unique shape. Shadows Fall have the skills, talent, and excitement to contend for the title of "Most Exciting Band In Metal" currently held by In Flames.

"Of One Blood" features ten songs of light and hope reflected against the bleak walls of reality. Acoustic guitars intertwine with dirty distortion to recall the musical dichotomy that Metallica was able to achieve on albums like "Ride The Lightning" and "Master Of Puppets."  Shadows Fall's music is like high tension wires carefully strung to maximize strength but never in danger of breaking due to weakness.

The lyrics display the ruby blood of fear, essential truth of existence, strength in unity, and the perils of alienation. The lyrics are intense as each word mirrors the emotions and warring factions in the human soul. The vocals range from guttural growls to beautiful harmonies - it's quite a feat to achieve such a broad variety of styles into one cohesive whole.

Songs such as "Crushing Belial," "Root Bound Apollo," and "Serenity" are prime examples of what heavy music should sound like. 

Shadows Fall and "Of One Blood" are highly recommended.

"Of One Blood" was produced by Zeuss.

Shadows Fall is Brian Fair on vocals, Matthew Bachaud on guitar and backing vocals, Jonathan Donais on lead guitar and backing vocals, Paul Romanko on bass, and David Germain on drums. 

For more information visit http://www.shadowsfall.com

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright © 2009 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 24 Sep 2017 15:29:52 -0400.