Shadows Fall’s latest album The War Within
, is also probably their biggest achievement. After releasing this album and gaining in popularity they managed to headline Ozzfest 2005 and toured with major label bands Slipknot and Lamb of God. Signed to Century Media, they are the most popular band on that label as well as the best selling. The band formed in 1995, and released their debut album, Somber Eyes To The Sky, off of guitarist Matt Bachand’s label, Lifeless Records. After catching the attention of Century Media Records, they released their second effort Of One Blood two years after their first, which first featured current singer Brian Fair. In 2002, Shadows Fall released their greatest record today, The Art Of Balance, a record that was heavy, and technical, yet melodic at the same time. Finally, another two years later in 2004, is when The War Within comes into play…
While not exactly reinventing the wheel, the band manages to craft an album that is incredibly melodic, yet still retaining a certain amount of heaviness, but not as much as The Art Of Balance. This could be perceived as both a pro, and a con. It certainly isn’t as brutal, which might upset older fans. What is in place of brutality is something along the lines of more of a “mainstream” feel to the record. This is perhaps because of Brian Fair’s vocal style. He combines both styles of singing, and screaming into one that creates a somewhat original voice, that actually goes well with the music. Some may find it annoying, but for the most part, his voice is solid; you can even understand what he is saying most of the time, which will help to draw in more of an audience.
The dual guitars are easily the best thing that the album has to offer. Stunning solos are unleashed on almost every single song from axe master Jonathon Donais. Both Jon, and Matt combine the styles of both American thrash (thrash “influenced” guitar solos), and European Gothenburg style metal (dual-guitar harmonies, and one-note guitar riffs) to further distance themselves from the rest of the so-called “new wave of American metal. Bassist Paul Romanko comes close as being one of the most underrated bassists in metal today. His lines, while not exactly prominent on The War Within, still help to balance the overall tone of the music in the album. Jason Brittner is the drum master of the band. His fills are amazing, but not as much as his fast double bass, which manages to stand out on pretty much every song.
The only complaint that could be brought forth about the album is that the album goes by fairly quickly. At forty-two minutes long, it seems like only twenty from start to finish, which is probably because some songs mesh together by sounding alike. That is however, the only thing that is bad about the album. The instrumentation, while not as technical as it could be, is what keeps the album from ever really getting old. There are plenty of strong songs on here, with no filler. The Light That Blinds
, Enlightened By The Cold
, and Ghost Of Past Failures
are all classics that will fans will want to repeatedly listen to. The three singles What Drives The Weak
, The Power of 1 and I
, and Inspiration on Demand
are also of excellent quality, and are all wise choices as singles. This isn’t classic, but certainly comes quite close to it, 4.5 out of 5.