Shadows Fall
Threads of Life


4.0
excellent

Review

by Mike Stagno EMERITUS
April 2nd, 2007 | 124 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist


For the most part, I am not so big on today's American metal scene. Sure, I liked Unearth's 2006 album, III: In the Eyes of Fire. I also enjoyed All That Remains' live show when they opened for DragonForce in Toronto last September. And I really enjoyed Killswitch Engage's As Daylight Dies album. But for the most part, the heavy metal sub-genre hasn't really done anything to capture my imagination. But then there's Shadows Fall. Formed in 1996 and hailing from Boston, Massachusetts, the quintet has released six albums, thus far, their latest being 2007's Threads of Life. And though I have not heard each of Shadows Fall's six albums, Threads of Life would definitely be one of their best. No, with Threads of Life Shadows Fall does not exactly eclipse The Art of Balance, and appears to be their maximum opus thus far. But what they do manage to release is an excellent collection of some of America's finest metal.

Now, there has always been some confusion over the band's sound. Some call them thrash metal. Others refer to them as metalcore. God forbid that someone mention thrashcore. However with Threads of Life, it seems clear to me what style of music Shadows Fall puts their efforts into. Pure, unadulterated thrash metal with a modern twist. And while that particular genre is quickly losing its grip over my musical interests, somehow Shadows Fall has managed to impress me thus far. Combining aggression and heaviness with technical, intricate riffing, the Boston natives tread a path attempted by many, yet successfully emulated by few. Energy, power, and emotion are the names of Shadows Fall's game, and throughout the 49 minute album, the band makes use of such traits rather well. Threads of Life's opening track, Redemption, is probably the song which does the best job in staying true to the aforementioned characteristics with its muscular riffs, effective use of melody, and excellent clean vocals. And while this seems to ring true for the opening track more than anything else on the album, songs such as the nearly seven minute epic, Final Call, or heartfelt Another Hero Lost. The former starts as one would expect a Shadows Fall song would start, with a fairly interesting lead from Jonathon Donais over a simple rhythm, but it eventually turns into a much more relentless, riff driven piece. At around three and a half minutes the heaviness stops completely and clean guitars take the spotlight. And while the clean sections are short lived in Final Call, they play an extremely large role in the second track I mentioned, Another Hero Lost. The album's ballad and superb offering, Another Hero Lost is one of the more emotional tracks to be found on Threads of Life. The acoustic guitars in which the track bases itself around early on is quite memorable and effective, as are Brain Fair's clean vocals.

While I quite enjoy Shadows Fall as a whole, some parts of the band are (or were) more difficult to get into than others. Vocalist Brian Fair's efforts were one of the issues I had with the band originally. Its not that he was a bad vocalist, because he certainly is not, his singing, shouting, and screaming were just somewhat difficult to digest. But that was quite awhile ago. Now days I've come to rather enjoy Fair's vocals. He will never go down as one of metal's top singers, but he can definitely get the job done. His clean singing, perhaps best heard in the aforementioned Another Hero Lost is where Brian excels the most, crafting vocal melodies which fit the song exceedingly well. His harsher vocals, the style which he makes use of is not quite as strong as the melodic style, but it compliments the music very well. Failure of the Devout is one song which Fair displays his talents behind the mic particularly effectively. His angry vocal lines fit the outraged lyrics of the song exceedingly well, and help deliver the song's message rather vividly.

With their first major label album, Threads of Life, Shadows Fall delivers their music vision with the excellence that listeners of the band have come to expect from the American metallers. Crushing thrash riffs, tasteful song writing, flashy yet to the point leads, and superb performances are all characteristics which can be used to describe Threads of Life, and fans of both thrash and the current wave of American metal should handily enjoy. Though not quite as strong as The Art of Balance, this new record is still a solid slab of metal and essential for all fans of Shadows Fall. Don't hesitate on picking it up.

Recommended Tracks:
Redemption
Final Call
Failure of the Devout
Another Hero Lost
Burning the Lives



Recent reviews by this author
Funeral for a Friend ConduitPropagandhi Failed States
Tycho DiveMegadeth Th1rt3en
Fair to Midland Arrows and AnchorsArch Enemy Khaos Legions
user ratings (506)
Chart.
3.1
good
other reviews of this album
Brain Dead (2.5)
Shadows Fall melt into the generic American metalcore scene....

Michael Roberts (3)
Shadows Fall shows growth and reveals new influences and sounds in the process. Threads of Life con...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Mikesn
Emeritus
April 3rd 2007


3709 Comments


Woosh!

JordanS
April 3rd 2007


319 Comments


I think that Shadows Fall did a phenomenal job on this album, their second favorite for me. Another Hero Lost is really uncharacteristic, it sounds like mainstream rock, but is done superbly. Still need some time to figure out my rating, but this annihilates The War Within. Jon Donais continues to be one of my favorite players in modern metal. Good review as well, I agree with alot of your points, although I do find Redemption to be one of the worst tracks on here.

scpttrerulz
April 3rd 2007


130 Comments


Yes! I've been waiting for this for some time now. Should try to get it quickly. Good review too...

Pluh
April 3rd 2007


579 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Ahhh... i'm buying this tomorrow... if it beats out the War Within then i'll like this a lot as i love that album...

Shattered_Future
April 3rd 2007


1541 Comments


This is a bloody terrible album. I personally think they've been going downhill since The War Within, and this confirms it. The songwriting is boring, they've toned down the aggression too much (that was part of what made them good), and it's just too...mainstream, for lack of a better word. It's too simple for them. The only song I can see standing out is Failure Of The Devout. Reminds me a bit of Stepping Outside The Circle.

The rest, though, is bad.

Pluh
April 3rd 2007


579 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah, not gonna lie... when they came out with Fallout From the War... i was completely disappionted. I hope this is much better.

violentmog
April 3rd 2007


73 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This album was a pleasant surprise to me. To be honest, I was a little scared before listening to it. It has a good sense of melody, and some awesome thrash parts. I was a little disappointed to not hear a great deal of Brian's harsh vocals, but his greatly improved clean vocals I guess make up for it.

Overall a solid effort by one of America's premier metal acts.


TheHamburgerman
April 3rd 2007


1303 Comments


What?!? A new album.. I didn't know that, and now I must pick it up/

Plus, it was a nice review.

everyone talks about this being one of "America's best metal acts" and stuff.
Well, The only better american band I can think of is Kamelot. Arsis, Killswitch Engage and Between the Buried and Me are close, but not better.This Message Edited On 04.03.07

ToWhatEnd
April 3rd 2007


3172 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

So yeah I was halfway done with a review, was going to come back to it later and ended up playing a 6 hour game of poker, haha. They definitely toned down heaviness here but I feel as though the structures are somewhat interesting, more acoustic work, interesting time signature changes.

But seriously, where is Shadows himself? I can't believe someone beat HIM to a review.

SynGates
April 3rd 2007


2467 Comments


I think he left or something.
I heard a few songs from the stream and loved the music but didnt like the vocals so much.

Altmer
April 3rd 2007


5652 Comments


the premier american metal act is Iced Earth.

And it's a magnum opus, not a maximum opus, I believe.This Message Edited On 04.03.07

Confessed2005
April 3rd 2007


3314 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Iced Earth are awesome...

This album is pretty good from what I have heard. A lot of people were saying it wasn't going to be that great.

But in fact, I have listened to it once already. It was throughly enjoyable.

Wizard
April 3rd 2007


19649 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

The single that they released from this cd sucked so much ass and I was dissappointed by the new direction they were going in. Does the rest of the album sound anything like it?

Good review Mike, but I cant comment on the musical aspect of your review because I still havent heard the album.

Digging: Horseback and Locrian - New Dominions

Confessed2005
April 3rd 2007


3314 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I take it you are talking about Redemption.

The album is in the same vein I would say - some of the songs are a completely new direction for them (Another Hero lost for example).

Check out Failure of the Devout.

But I would just give this album a chance if I were you - just my opinion.

Wizard
April 3rd 2007


19649 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Thanks Confessed2005! I was planning on checking out this album, but Im a little worried I will be dissappointed. Nevertheless, I will listen to this album with an open mind. Art of Balance was great, but The War Within and Fallout to the War were so overhyped. But they still had their moments.

Lunarfall
April 3rd 2007


3179 Comments


The best american metal band = Symphony X or Kamelot IMO.

Shadows Fall is up there though.

M A D R I G A L
April 3rd 2007


103 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Amazing. This album is everything I imagined it'd be. GReat freakin' metal here! It's quite groovy too. I'd urge everyone to pick it up or at least listen to it all. VERY ENJOYABLE. Great review Mike!

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
April 3rd 2007


17946 Comments


I might check this out, since The Art of Balance is a good album. Great job Mike.

clairvoyant
April 3rd 2007


765 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

so, someone tell me this:

Should I buy this album if I thought The War Within was a poor album?

ToWhatEnd
April 3rd 2007


3172 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

That depends, what didn't you like about The War Within?



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy