Shadows Fall
The War Within


4.5
superb

Review

by Shadows USER (89 Reviews)
January 14th, 2005 | 142 replies | 40,516 views


Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist


8 of 8 thought this review was well written

Shadows Fall...where do I begin? After releasing their debut Somber Eyes to the Sky on Matt Bachand's label Lifeless Records, the band started to gather avid attention, including that of Century Media. After signing to CMR, the band put out the album Of One Blood, featuring new drummer David "The Knife" Germain. That album sparked a chain reaction that would result in them becoming one of the fastest growing (musically and in popularity) underground bands of today. The album did reasonably well, but it's success was nothing to write home about. Once again, the band acquired a new drummer, this time the stool would be filled by Jason Bittner. But then of course came the legendary Art of Balance. This record secured them as one of the leaders of the New Wave of American Heavy Metal. They set a record for most records sold on the Century Media label, one which I feel they deserved very much. After the Art of Balance sold 100,000 records, they had made their first long-lasting mark on the music world. After a mere two years of touring with little rest, the band went to the studio to record (pretty quickly) their fourth album - the War Within. The rest is yet to be seen, but perhaps the music will speak for itself.

Okay, I absolutely love this band with a firey passion, so I'll try and seem as unbiased as I can, although I generally only review albums I like.

The Light The Blinds - 4.5/5
Alright, I'm excited. It starts out with a great acoustic section, but turns into a raging metal song with the essentials - crazy guitar solo, double bass, heavy riffs...and that's only the intro. The pace is continued with Brian's vocals and the song becomes a great starter for the album. The two layers of screaming (recorded over each other) feel pretty chaotic. The slower parts keep the melodic sense and soon transition to an even better guitar solo (they seem to stick with what they're good at :thumb: ). This song all around shows the band from all perspectives. A good one for one not aquainted with them to get a feel of their music.

Enlightened By the Cold - 4/5
Focuses more on heaviness. It's also a reminder that if needed, Matt Bachand could easily take over vocals. Yeah, he sings quite a bit here, but thee's still plenty of screaming. The main riffs are nice, but nothing really stands out other than Matt's singing. A good follow up which leads into the next track (the first three seem linked for some reason).

Act of Contrition - 4.25/5
Pretty similar to the last track. I've got great memories of this song when I saw the Shads play it live at the Strhess Tour. Good stuff. Not quite as much heaviness with more emphasis on leads. I'm running out of ideas to write for this one, you sort of need to hear it for yourself.

What Drives the Weak - 5/5
Saw this one live too :thumb: (as well as the Power of I and I). Man, this is easily a highlight. The perfect blend of melody and heaviness - brutality with a softer side. The vocals here get pretty soft with clean and acoustic guitars backing Brian's singing. It gets heavier, but keeps with the lighter vocals. The main riffs are catchy as hell, and filled with the traditional Shadows Fall solo...two actually. It ends on a heavy note.

Stillness - 4.25/5
Holy ****, amazing intro! Many of you may have heard it - it's the song played on the intro movie to the band's home page. Sadly, it goes slightly down hill and breaks off from the atmosphere that the intro creates. It goes from 100% melody to about 80% heaviness with the other 20% falling into the "other" catergory. Once again, the main riff isn't the most unique. But it breaks into really heavy parts with obvious double bass, and strangely, the heaviness is created by the lead guitars instead of the heavy drop C riffs. It picks up near the end, and is definitely worth waiting out the whole song for.

Inspiration on Demand - 50/5
Alright, maybe I went a little overboard on the rating. This is probably the best song on the album. From start to finish, this is packed full of four minutes of amazing stuff. The beginning is pretty soft with clean guitars and singing. But soon it breaks into heaviness. The heavy riffgs are extremely melodic, while Brian and Matt's singing are truley beautiful. Matt's voice is perfect for the feeling of the song. It's pretty hard to describe, but it's one of the most amazing songs I've heard in a while. I urge everyone to listen to this song as soon as possible.

The Power of I and I - 4.75
I'm sure many or most people here have heard it. It was pretty **** close to being a 5. This is the heaviest song on the album. Quite possibly the heaviest Shadows Fall song period. Thescreaming seems heavier than usual, while the main structure is made up of double bass and heavy low pitched guitars. They do have the coveted solos in there, but not untill after the chorus. The singing in the chorus almost sounds like they have a whole chorus of voices with them. The song ends on a note of powerful and heavy sounds with Jason practically slamming his whole body weight on the drums.

Ghosts of Past Failures - 4.5/5
An intersting combination of sounds. Fans of the band know the sound - when they go soft, they usually have clean guitars, light drumming, and singing. Well this has all that, except with screaming instead of singing. Sort of an opposing effect. Then with the heavy riffs, etc. he decides to sing, sparking yet another uniue feel. The chorus always makes me think of a ghost, too (**** those song titles). Probably because of the odd recessed sound of the vocals. Anyhoo, let's move on.

Eternity is Within - 4.5/5
Thrash fans may relate to this song more then the others on the album. It's got enough heaviness to combat the Poewr of I and I, while producing good speed (almost the entire song is blast beats and double bass). It mailny keeps up that same rhythm for the whole song so it's one of the more angry tracks. The ending right before the solo is pretty ****ing mad as well.

Those Who Cannot Speak - 4.75/5
Anyone acquianted with the song Stepping Outside the Circle will unerstand what I'm trying to say here, because it closely resembles that combined with a Fire in Babylon. It starts out with beautiful acoustic intro and then becomes a fast song like Stepping Outside the Circle. It's got a nice atmosphere like a Fire in Babylon, but features several insane and emotional solos like Stepping Outside the Circle. The slow leads and main riffs are once again like a Fire in Babylon. It's tough to really describe this one unless you know their older stuff, but keep in mind that it's 5 and a half minutes of killer music!

Conc again...
Alright - before you people flame me for overblowing the album, bear a few things in mind. Yes, I am madly in love with this band, and I'm sure we all know how excited one gets when their favorite band puts out a new record. I'll be looking back on this constantly, and if the novelty wears off and even I start to think I made too much of it then I'll edit it. I know that most of you haven't even heard this yet, so at least do me a favor and listen to the entire CD before saying that I over did it. I tried to be realistic, but hey, maybe it really is just that good!
This is probably the bands most sophisticated work yet. The songs are excellently structured and their musicianship is high as usual. They seem to be making more use of the fact that they have two voices working for them, and the finished product is amazing. Some songs are softer than usuall, and some are heavier than usual. This really looks like the step forward they try to take with every album they put out. Whether it's better or worse then their earlier stuff is difficult to say...but I'll let you decide.

Recommended tracks:
What Drives the Weak
Inspiration on Demand
The Power of I and I
Those Who Cannot Speak

Something for everyone, especially if you're already a fan of the band. Anyone who isn't or doesn't even know them should definitely check this out.

Final Rating - 4.5/5
Have a nice day.



Recent reviews by this author
Opeth Blackwater ParkMirrorthrone Carriers of Dust
Cradle of Filth ThornographyTrivium The Crusade
Opeth DamnationBlind Guardian A Twist in the Myth
user ratings (684)
Chart.
3.6
great
other reviews of this album
Michael Roberts (4)
ToWhatEnd and metal?! Yes indeed this record had quite the effect on me awhile back. Listening to ...

Ian (4.5)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
BuddyBigsby
September 14th 2004



531 Comments


Haha, you just went to the stream of the album and reviewed it as you listened to the songs for the first time, didn't you?

Shadows
Moderator
September 14th 2004



2530 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah, you caught me. I tried to wait untill it was actually released but I couldn't help myself.

FACELESSnotBASSLESS
September 15th 2004



11 Comments


Someday, I'm going to buy my town's church and turn it into a shrine for Shadows Fall... I haven't heard anything on this CD yet except for 'The Power of I and I,' but if this is anything like The Art of Balence, I'll be sure to be completely obsessed with this one.

BuddyBigsby
September 15th 2004



531 Comments


I'm most of the way through the album right now, and I dig. "What Drives the Weak" really sucks. Brian simply can not sing and when he tries to it brings the whole song down. This is a good album though, definitely has that 80's thrash feel with more of a modern touch. Maybe not as good as The Art of Balance, but more consistent.

Distorted Vision
September 15th 2004



184 Comments


Just finished listening to the stream, I'm impressed. It's a solid album, but it'll take a few more listens before I can decide how good the songs really are.

Shadows
Moderator
September 15th 2004



2530 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Like I said, it's hard to tell whether or not it's better than the Art of Balance. It seems to be an album that really grows on you over time. As of now I'de say it's equal to the Art of Balance. But I suppose if you can't stand Brian's singing voice than you would hate What Drives the Weak, since that's mostly what the vocals are composed of.

To Faceless: That's a great idea. A local church in my area is closing and will be up for sale soon (devilish laugh). Matt Bachand is going to have his own confessional.

Unleaded
September 22nd 2004



1 Comments


Well, I picked this up today, and all I could do when the first note hit, all the way up to the last one, was sit and drool on myself in such awe. The boys in Shadows Fall really have stepped up their game since "The Art Of Balance", which was awesome as well. Bachand and Donais just left me stunned w/ their technical ability. As did Jason Bittner...awesome drumming. Fair's vocals are probably the best they've ever been, clean or dirty. And, so often overlooked is Paul Romanko. He's a very skilled and talented bassist who comes up with great lines to match the Bachand/Donais tag team. Not to mention the price was so low for as much stuff as you get in this album. The DVD is great, espicially the lessons. I for one consider this album now as a milestone by which alot of new albums, and new bands for that matter, will be judged. Overall, I believe every metal fan should have a copy of this in their collection. Hopefully, the SF guys will keep putting out this caliber of records over a long period of time. Awesome, Awesome CD!

Toozey
September 22nd 2004



77 Comments


This album is way neato, It leaked ages ago and I bought it yesterday, came with a dvd :cool:

Shadows
Moderator
September 22nd 2004



2530 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I pre-ordered mine three weeks ago. Only $11 and I get ****loads of free stuff - not a bad deal. Unfortunately, it's been two days since the release and I'm still waiting.

Somehow I knew this review would come back after the 21st.

PIGS(1 different one)
September 22nd 2004



53 Comments


I downloaded it a week ago, it was good enough to be a purcahse. :cool:

twistedminddude
September 25th 2004



2 Comments


this album rocks...i pre-ordered it through the internet and got a limited collecters edition with bonus dvd, double sided poster, bonus cd with songs from the haunted,god forbid,diecast,heaven shal burn and stampin' ground, and a genuinly autographed album booklet!!!!!!!!! it was definately a worth while investment and im well chufd!!!
i give this album :thumb: :thumb: :thumb: :thumb: .80/ 5 :wave:

Distorted Vision
September 25th 2004



184 Comments


After getting the CD and listening to it whenever I could, I have to say it's a very solid album. However, for me there are not enough really memorable, standout moments like they had on The Art Of Balance, which is a bit of a disappointment for me, because I thought that maybe, just maybe, they could develop further and surpass that album. They haven't, but other than that comparison it's a really cool album.

Strange that you gave the lowest rating to Enlightened By The Cold, at the moment that's my favourite track, the chorus was stuck in my head all day yesterday.

Iai
Emeritus
September 25th 2004



3553 Comments


My best friend, who is a massive Shadow's Fall fan, said he might not even be getting this because I gave him a Century Media sampler (I'm on the street team) with The Power Of I & I and What Drives The Weak on it. Apparenty they've dumbed down too much.

Eh. I haven't heard most of The Art Of Balance, so I can't judge.

BigBadBooDooDady
September 26th 2004



3 Comments


I loved Art of Balance.

I love this disc. The first and last track of the disc are just plain out ****ing awesome. The last song is currently my favorite... Heavy in the beginning, the middle is like a Mozart/Metallica is about the only way to describe it.... the end has one of the best heaviest riff I think I have heard in a LONG time. Its at 4:45 into the stong...... its like buttah.

Per Ardua Ad Astra
September 26th 2004



106 Comments


I don't know if it's just me, but i heard a few songs from the Art of Balance and a few songs from The War Within and the songs sound basically the same to me.
There is no real variety in the music, and i can't stand the vocals.

/me goes and reads your Emperor review.

DimebagDarrell
September 28th 2004



65 Comments


Great album especially if you get the DVD with it :thumb:

Shadows
Moderator
September 28th 2004



2530 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

[QUOTE=twistedminddude]this album rocks...i pre-ordered it through the internet and got a limited collecters edition with bonus dvd, double sided poster, bonus cd with songs from the haunted,god forbid,diecast,heaven shal burn and stampin' ground, and a genuinly autographed album booklet!!!!!!!!! it was definately a worth while investment and im well chufd!!!
i give this album :thumb: :thumb: :thumb: :thumb: .80/ 5 :wave:[/QUOTE]
Yeah, I got that too. The booklet is pretty cool but I'm still waiting for the poster.

I don't know if it's just me, but i heard a few songs from the Art of Balance and a few songs from The War Within and the songs sound basically the same to me.

Well, it sounds like you're just not into the band altogether, so there's not much we can do.

My best friend, who is a massive Shadow's Fall fan, said he might not even be getting this because I gave him a Century Media sampler (I'm on the street team) with The Power Of I & I and What Drives The Weak on it. Apparenty they've dumbed down too much.

Tell your friend not to judge by two songs. I loved the Art of Balance, and this one's got songs heavy and melodic enough to surpass it (strange that he didn't like either of those, though). Maybe in the long run the AOB is a little heavier and more memorable in some ways, but I wouldn't say this isn't as good. It's just got a different feel.

Actually, now that I look back at the album, I'm starting to feel like I underrated it in the review. I may edit that though...Enlightened by the Cold is better than I gave it credit for.

Shadows
Moderator
September 28th 2004



2530 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

[QUOTE=Per Ardua Ad Astra]/me goes and reads your Emperor review.[/QUOTE]
Are you gonna post in my Equilibrium review or what!!?? I've been waiting like two **** weeks and the only post was from me!!!

BuddyBigsby
September 28th 2004



531 Comments


omg autographed *faints*

Per Ardua Ad Astra
September 28th 2004



106 Comments


[QUOTE=Death to pop punk]Are you gonna post in my Equilibrium review or what!!?? I've been waiting like two **** weeks and the only post was from me!!![/QUOTE]

Did



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