Shadows Fall emerged in 1998 as a thrash metal quintet after releasing Somber eyes to the Sky on Matthew Bachand's own Lifeless Records. Soon afterward, singer Phillip Labonte was replaced by former Overcast vocalist Brian Fair. Shadows Fall was then signed to Century Media Records just before releasing the album Of One Blood. Since then, the band has recieved all kinds of praise. Hit Parader rated them one of the all-time top underground bands saying that they "strike an artfull balance between beaute and brute". Nothing could be closer to the truth. Shadows Fall plays that heaviest of metal, while incorporating beautiful melodies in their music.
I won't bore you with overly-long biographical crap, so I'll get straight to the music.
Pain Glass Vision - 10/10
Not much to it. A fitting intro, made up entirely of strange noises. As far as I could tell, a strictly atmospheric track.
Crushing Belial - 7.5/10
A song that picks up heavily after a laid back intro. Shadows Fall hits you with a punch in the face straight from the start, with heavy riffs and screaming vocals. One section of the song quickly switches to acoustic, which gives us a quick glimpse of the melodic side of the band. Solos on this track fit perfectly with the sound and mood. Heavy, but not the heaviest (but still a great song overall).
Of One Blood - 9/10
Excellent guitar work here. Of One Blood opens with some excellent guitar leads and goes into Brian's heavy vocals (and one of the few times the guitarists sing). The song quickly transitions to the chorus, with amazing singing. Top it all off with a killer metal solo, and you've got yourself one hell of a thrash epic.
The First Nobel Truth - 8.5/10
One of the fastest moving songs on the album. Every few seconds, the song goes from heavy metal riffs and screaming to emphasized lead work with some nice singing. Up to this point, the album hasn't really disappointed me yet.
Fleshold - 7.5/10
Starts out great, but then goes slightly down hill. Fleshold opens with heavy guitar work, but seems to get lighter as the song progresses. Singing and screaming are fairly equally used here, and creates an overall heavy metal feel. So far, I've never felt the need to skip this track.
Root Bound Apollo - 5.5/10
This was a hard song to rate; It opens up with a sort of atmospheric feel, and seems to be nothing special, but then it lightens up by going acoustic and feels like a nice slower song. But then the heaviness kicks back in, and begins to slightly disappoint. There is little singing, which isn't a bad thing, but in the end the song just kind of blends.
Revel In My Loss - 7/10
This has hands down the heaviest vocals on the album. A nice slow pace with heavy screaming starts, but then the song occasionally faster. The singing parts were just sort of strange, and as I listen to it more, I listen mostly only to the first two minutes.
Montauk - 5/10
Sounds a lot like the band tried to combine several songs on the album into one track. Iy didn't work. It sounds a little choppy, but picks up later on in the song. I generally skip this whenver I listen to the CD.
To Ashes - 6.5/10
Starts out with heavy drums and goes into the heavy vocals and instrumentals. Nothing really stand-outish about this song, until we get to the solo. Starts out clean, and then becomes a metal solo that really sticks in your mind. Unfortunately, that's mostly all you can look forward to in this song.
Serenity - 7.5/10
Heavy, melodic, and strangely satisfying...there's just something about the song. The singing parts are backed with nice instrumentals and topped with another memorable Shadows Fall solo. A definite great way to end an album such as this.
And I'm spent. This album was a definite showcase of Shadows Fall's unmatched ability to combine thrash metal heaviness with amazing melodies, as well as their abilities as musicians. Although this is a great album, I actually prefer The Art of Balance. But you're a fan of Shadows Fall or thrash metal, feel free to look into either (or both) of these albums.
Of One blood
The First Nobel Truth
Rating - 4.5/5