Review Summary: Shadows Fall are back with a vicious metalcore assault that improves on Retribution in every way and should please long term fans of the band and casual thrash listeners too.
It seems like forever since this usually very consistent band delivered their 2009 album ‘Retribution’ which for me was a bit of a step back for these guys with no real memorable songs or catchy hooks (excluding ‘still I rise’), so as I do with a lot of metalcore albums these days I approached it with caution and all limbs crossed. Thankfully upon hearing the awesome opener ‘The unknown’ I knew these guys were back in business and hopefully here to stay, this song starts off with an atmospheric and fast intro before exploding into a highly infectious single that these guys are known for.
Luckily ‘Fire from the Sky’ isn’t a one trick pony either this song sets the scene for the whole 42 minute album which means it will stick to your mind and get you moshing whilst never outstaying it’s welcome. The singing/screaming on this album courtesy of Brian Fair and both guitarists are more prominent than ever and he sounds better and more pissed off than he has been in a while with the lyrics covering the apocalypse you can see why, some of the more extreme vocals such as the self-titled track wouldn’t sound out of place on a death metal song.
Fear not those wondering if this whole album is a dark thing to put on if you’ve had a bad day at the office there are some very energetic and uplifting tracks which contrast the heavy and brutal tracks nicely, ‘Walk the edge’ deserves particular praise as it showcases what the band can do really well, mainly the excellent guitar work of Matt and Jonathan and the addictive choruses reminiscent of their older stuff.
One of the things that make this album such an essential listen for both fans of their old stuff and of the genre itself is that the fairly short length really works in their favour most songs are instantly re-playable with no overuse of breakdowns that bog down many wannabe ‘core’ bands. The production is superb apart from the bass (unfortunately a clique of the genre); the duties are done by jack of all trades ‘Adam D’ who has many solid productions under his belt all ready, like with most of my reviews they include great drummers and Jason is no exception laying down some masterful beats he gets the job done with a great mix of blast-beats and interesting fills.
I’m very pleased that Shadows Fall have returned with such a strong album everything I love about them is present in this album, just when I thought 2012 couldn’t get any better for metal albums we were spoilt once more with this release. There’s definitely some future classics on this album and you won’t be wasting your money with this one, fans of modern metal have plenty to sink their teeth into and whilst they’re at it should check out older albums ‘The war within’ and ‘The art of balance’. Shadows Fall sound like their having fun again and after the last two fairly uninspired albums I think it’s great they still play with such confidence and avoid the pitfalls of many modern metal bands when it’s so easy to go down that road, check this out and thank-you for taking the time to read this.