With artwork that is clearly a modern reading of Francis Bacon’s Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion, you would be forgiven for thinking that Shadows Fall had gone all apocalyptic and tormented on us. Thankfully Brian Fair lays fears to rest within the first two minutes; You must try to seize the day; all the world will hear you; redemption in the power of the sound.
But those who know Shadows Fall will know that while positive philosophy might ooze out of Brian’s mouth in every song, it is backed up by an abundance of crushing metallic battery. Music geeks and techno heads alike will once again be found in the front row of their live gigs, jaws open at Jason Bittner’s percussive destruction of his kit.
As soon as he’s settled into a rhythm, it’s gone; supplemented for another more complex double kick melody. Burning the lives is an adequate case study for this phenomenon, and amazingly also manages to cram in not one but two finger tip massacring solos courtesy of the band’s lead six string wizard Jonathon Donais.
Storm Winds builds with muted riffs before crashing into a ride cymbal and tom driven verse that chugs along without sounding monotonous as only Shadows Fall can. The melodic elements of Fair’s Approach are still present in the choruses of most songs on the latest LP; and while he might not attract the same attention as Killswitch Engage‘s Howard Jones, he certainly possesses as much wisdom in his approach to song construction; as Failure of the Devout demonstrates in its damning attack on the religious fanatics (presumably) of America’s right wing.
Another Hero Lost takes things far far back into ’80s old school with acoustic intros and screeching solos, resulting in what Shadows Fall often do best; revamp old influences (At The Gates et al) in their own imitable metalcore fashion.
And fashion is the right word, because while the crest of the metalcore wave might have long crashed ashore leaving certain acts washed up with little left to offer (God Forbid & co?) with the release of their sixth full length album, Shadows Fall clearly have a formula tight enough to remain creative and inspiring while not stagnating either.
This album doesn’t recreate the wheel, but some would suggest that when your speeding down the highway well above the speed limit so fast you don’t even feel the bumps; the last thing you’d want to do is stop and change the tyres for the sake merely of looking good. Fans will love it, and those newcomers who hear them by chance when Iron Maiden‘s Bruce Dickinson slips them into his weekly playlist will no doubt make a point of catching them as the sun sets over Donington race track this summer.