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Shadows Fall - The War Within (Cover Artwork)

Shadows Fall

Shadows Fall: The War WithinThe War Within (2004)
Century Media

Reviewer Rating: 4.5


Contributed by: pwfanaticpwfanatic
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Like most other non-metalheads, I was exposed to Shadows Fall a couple of years ago when The Art of Balance came out and kicked me in the teeth. Now, with a lot more tour dates with big acts under their belts, the boys of Shadows Fall have solidly punched me in the crotch with their new album The W.
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Like most other non-metalheads, I was exposed to Shadows Fall a couple of years ago when The Art of Balance came out and kicked me in the teeth. Now, with a lot more tour dates with big acts under their belts, the boys of Shadows Fall have solidly punched me in the crotch with their new album The War Within.

People might read this and bitch because blah blah blah its metal this is a punk site yada yada yada. If that is your beef, than stop reading here. For those that care, as good as The Art of Balance was, it somehow appears that the guys of Shadows Fall got even tighter knit musically. The opening track "The Light That Blinds" opens with an eerie power metal acoustic ballad of sorts, but this quickly gives way into an explosion of double bass, awesome guitar riffs and absolutely superb harmony. The same riff churns along for a bit before Brian Fair's recognizable yell/guttural throat yelp kicks in. The riff changes that Shadows Fall is so good at are heavily prominent in this song, and their thrash influences of Metallica and Slayer shine through also. Although a metal song, it is incredibly catchy in a perverted way. Eventually it breaks down into an awesome transition to set up for their guitar solos, and Jonathan Donais and Matthew Bachand do not disappoint, especially towards the end where they kick in the ridiculous melody they used at the beginning of the song. After the solos, they head into a heavy mosh riff led by Fair's scream.

Fair's vocals are improved over the last album. The second track "Enlightened By the Cold" proves this. He relies less on his yells and yelps, but goes for more melodies, which works out perfectly when the guitars slather melody all over the song. It is almost as if he knows perfectly when to yell and when to actually carry a tune. His lyrics aren't your standard overly creepy thrash lyrics, but are intelligible and actually relatable, a rarity in true metal these days.

Shadows Fall still retain their glimpse of hardcore moments that made them appeal to me in the first place. "Act of Contrition" uses the standard gang vocals of hardcore and if it weren't for the constant double bass, the chorus would almost seem taken out of a local Jersey hardcore band. However, even in songs like these, they are still able to go into power ballads with a seemingly perfect transition, then straight into a solo chalk full of pinch harmonics, and then straight back to their semi-hardcore sound. Songs like these demonstrate the versatility of these guys, and it is a definite improvement over The Art of Balance.

Virtually every song is as great as the three mentioned above, and those are the first three songs in order. "Ghost of Past Failure" is a throwback to the influences of Slayer and Metallica and shows that Shadows Fall can compete on the same level as the groups that created the genre they play in. The music is great, the drumming greater, and the solos on their own damn level. The Art of Balance was great, but The War Within is that much better. A must own for anyone that likes the slightest bit of metal. The best part about the album, is although everyone anticipated it would happen a couple of years ago, with this album, Shadows Fall has bulldozed the door to allow other bands like Killswitch, Unearth, Lamb of God, etc reach new heights.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (October 31, 2004)

and P.S. - good charlotte sux you trendy f@#k

brock - dayton,oh

Anonymous (October 31, 2004)

This album is tits.... I love the blast beats, as well as the insane lil gallop beats... awesome all the way around and I will still come back for more.

Brock - dayton,oh

Anonymous (October 28, 2004)

"score is for new jersey"

New Jersey can lick my asshole, this album kicks ass!

Anonymous (October 26, 2004)

First off, the only genre you could classify Shadows Fall in is METAL. And anybody who didn't like this album clearly doesnt know METAL. Whats not to like about it? The guitarists definately delivered, and I think anyone who plays guitar can agree with me. The brought kick ass riffs and killer two part harmony. Solos were awesome. Bassist was good. Drummer was awesome. And vocal definately dilevered. Put it all together and you have a kick ass band and a kick ass album. Any puke fan who doesnt agree is either a closet rap fan or listens to moby in his car.

Anonymous (October 8, 2004)

kudos to conduit for clearing the air

Anonymous (October 5, 2004)

score is for new jersey

Anonymous (October 5, 2004)

has anybody heard the new good charlotte album? it's killer

Anonymous (October 5, 2004)

Let's just acknowledge that nobody has any clue what genre anything is anymore and move on with life.

Anonymous (October 5, 2004)

Yea, but Suicidal got a little goofy after Lights Camera Revolution. Actually, they got a little goofy on LCR, but they went overboard with the funk after that.

For the record:
Van Halen is/was hard rock. AC/DC is/was hard rock.

"and he onced licked up a puddle of piss...tell me that's not metal"

That's not metal, that's just stupid.

Anonymous (October 5, 2004)

I am still convince that nobody did the metal/punk thing better than late 80's/early 90's Suicidal Tendencies.

Anonymous (October 5, 2004)

"Motley Crue? Jesus Christ they're bad. The only decent Metal band you listed is Maid"

obviously you've never actually listned to a motley crue album...i'm not advocating hair metal, i'm advocating motley crue

nikki sixx died and then lived again, and he onced licked up a puddle of piss...tell me that's not metal

ac/dc and van halen eddie van halen is like the johnny ramone of metal

guns and roses are fucking amazing

Anonymous (October 4, 2004)

"remember when hardcore bands were pissed and not just hardcore?

you want hardcore listen to black flag, bad brains, dead kennedys, minor threat even the bronx

you want metal listen to ac/dc, van halen, guns and roses, iron maiden, motley crue, and metallica"

Are you fucking serious? Motley Crue? Jesus Christ they're bad. The only decent Metal band you listed is Maiden

Anonymous (October 4, 2004)

"How come no one has reviewed the new MegaDeth CD yet "The system has failed"? This album is the album of the year in my opinion. Dynamite stuff from Dave with an All new lineup (except for Poland). Heaviest since Rust in Peace!"

I didn't know Poland was on the new cd. Awesome.

Anonymous (October 4, 2004)

remember when hardcore bands were pissed and not just hardcore?

you want hardcore listen to black flag, bad brains, dead kennedys, minor threat even the bronx

you want metal listen to ac/dc, van halen, guns and roses, iron maiden, motley crue, and metallica

Anonymous (October 4, 2004)

How come no one has reviewed the new MegaDeth CD yet "The system has failed"? This album is the album of the year in my opinion. Dynamite stuff from Dave with an All new lineup (except for Poland). Heaviest since Rust in Peace!

mikeinflames (October 4, 2004)

whoever called SF metalcore is an idiot
these guys are amazingly talented and they are a straight up metal band

Conduit (October 3, 2004)

"Shadows Fall - The War Within
Posted by Anonymous on 2004-10-03 16:25:04
My Score:
Lamb of God suck. Shadows Fall suck. In Flames suck (old stuff i can handle but the new is really bad). Bleeding through suck. ALL OF THIS STUPID FUCKING METALCORE THAT YOU FUCKS CALL METAL SUCKS. oh my they sing instead of screaming with music that sounds like brand new then a little breakdown so all the kids with girls jeans and tight black t shirts with such great bands like thursday can kick box and convince themselves theyre hardcore. hmmmmm whats that remind of every fucking band from the past two years and now whats this we see throwdown playing shows with fear factory and children of bodom. does this seems the least bitweird to anybody else. that went off topic, but the moral is, all of this shit sucks and you assholes really need to stop actiing like you know what your talking about becuase you dont know what metal is and you dont know what punk is and you dont even know what alternative top 40 is so shut the fuck up."

Lamb Of God don't suck. Old In Flames (like Jester Race) is good, new does suck, and old Shadows Fall is really good. Bleeding Through never claimed to be a metal band, as far as I know.

Regardless, none of these bands sound like Brand New, so you obviously haven't ever heard them or maybe even these bands.

I know what real metal is. At The Gates, Opeth, Nile, Edge Of Sanity, Slayer, Bloodbath, Emperor and the like are a few of my favorites, so if you want to call me out on that one i'll be glad to call you a fucking idiot. And yeah I know those bands are popular, they are still metal bands.

Throwdown definately don't call themselves a metal band, and Fear Factory have fucking sucked for a long time (see anything after Obsolete).

Obviously, you don't know how to put up a decent argument, so maybe you are the one who should shut the fuck up.

Anonymous (October 3, 2004)

" all the kids with girls jeans "

that shit's fucking hilarious

so many of these screamo kids wearing girls jeans cause guys jeans aren't tight enough

fuck fashion

FortyMinutesWest (October 3, 2004)

I hope that was flamebait, because otherwise, you're an idiot.

Anonymous (October 3, 2004)

Lamb of God suck. Shadows Fall suck. In Flames suck (old stuff i can handle but the new is really bad). Bleeding through suck. ALL OF THIS STUPID FUCKING METALCORE THAT YOU FUCKS CALL METAL SUCKS. oh my they sing instead of screaming with music that sounds like brand new then a little breakdown so all the kids with girls jeans and tight black t shirts with such great bands like thursday can kick box and convince themselves theyre hardcore. hmmmmm whats that remind of every fucking band from the past two years and now whats this we see throwdown playing shows with fear factory and children of bodom. does this seems the least bitweird to anybody else. that went off topic, but the moral is, all of this shit sucks and you assholes really need to stop actiing like you know what your talking about becuase you dont know what metal is and you dont know what punk is and you dont even know what alternative top 40 is so shut the fuck up.

Anonymous (October 3, 2004)

All of this shit is terrible.

-I Hate The Kids

Anonymous (October 3, 2004)

The new atreyu is a guilty pleasure.

The new Shadows Fall... not so much. They're turning into the Dream Theatre of metalcore.

FortyMinutesWest (October 3, 2004)

I love the new Lamb of God, but this isn't on par with Shadow Fall's past material.

Anonymous (October 3, 2004)

"this album is a massive disappointment. People running around talking about this new wave of "American Metal". Whatever.

The only thing more disappointing than this album was the Lamb of God album."

"You have obviously no idea of what youre talking about."

Sorry that this is not in line with the popular opinion here, as I am simply stating my feelings after listening to each record about 10 times. Deal with it.

Anonymous (October 2, 2004)

But metal still sucks.

-BSD

Anonymous (October 2, 2004)

"this album is a massive disappointment. People running around talking about this new wave of "American Metal". Whatever.

The only thing more disappointing than this album was the Lamb of God album."

You have obviously no idea of what youre talking about.

Anonymous (October 2, 2004)

haha you let people from IN FLAMES sign your pants, shoes and jacket. hahahaa

Anonymous (October 2, 2004)

This album is a massive disappointment. People running around talking about this new wave of "American Metal". Whatever.

The only thing more disappointing than this album was the Lamb of God album.

Anonymous (October 2, 2004)

awesome band
amazing album
these guys are so talented and should be way more popular than they are

Anonymous (October 2, 2004)

band sucks

Anonymous (October 2, 2004)

"I remember back in 1999 (maybe 2000) I saw this band with In Flames (used to be the greatest melodic metal band ever)"

Yeah what's up with their new sound? When I first bought "colony" it knocked my on my ass, but everything after "Clayman" has been disappoining. They blew killswitch out of the water when I saw 'em back in May, but I wish they'd go back to the melodic death sound!
-notfeelingcreative

Big_Guy (October 2, 2004)

"Slayer is a bit too sloppy for my tastes but "to each his own" I guess "

Are you insane?"

I guess I was referring to Reign In Blood and the recording quality and their riffs don't impress me that much

Bryne (October 2, 2004)

Good review.

Anonymous (October 2, 2004)

Obviously that perosn knows nothing about SLayer

TheOneTrueBill (October 2, 2004)

"Slayer is a bit too sloppy for my tastes but "to each his own" I guess "

Are you insane?

Anonymous (October 2, 2004)

I remember back in 1999 (maybe 2000) I saw this band with In Flames (used to be the greatest melodic metal band ever) and Nevermore, and then got drunk with them behind the venue afterwards. The two guitarists and a few of my friends were just drinking beer, and after an hour the two of them were so trashed. Brian was inside trying to sleep, he came out with his hair all messed up and shit, talked for a few minutes and went back inside. After that we kept getting drunk and it was a great time. They signed my pants, shoes, shirt, everything, cuz I didn't have 'Of On Blood' (the best SF CD ever) on me. Anyway, I don't know where this was going, I guess I was just saying how amazingly fucking cool these guys are.

Anonymous (October 2, 2004)

Personally, I think Machine Head's latest, "Through The Ashes Of The Empire" is better.

If you ask me, they very well could be the next Metallica or Slayer. Depending on how much quality they put out in the future, their past few have been really iffy. But this latest one...wow.

But, good for Shadow's Fall. It's nice to see a band like this break into the top 20 with virtually no airplay, promotion or MTV/Clear Channel backing.

Anonymous (October 1, 2004)

that singer has some fucking long dreads.

Anonymous (October 1, 2004)

this album was #20 on the Billboard album charts. Not just Indie albulms (which i think it was #1)

Anonymous (October 1, 2004)

"This band will never be close to the same level of Slayer. That's just crazytalk"

I dunno if you're talking "Diabolus inMusica" vs this i'd go with shadows fall! If you're comparing this to "Reign In Blood" or "Seasons In The Abyss" then Slayer obliterates.

-notfeelingcreative

Anonymous (October 1, 2004)

Here's how I was with metal:

At first I hated it.

Then I liked some thrash and some black metal.

Now I just think it's funny joke music.

-BSD

Anonymous (October 1, 2004)

the drummer is from albany. score is for albany. and good metal. and unintelligent comments.

Anonymous (October 1, 2004)

absolutely motherfucking unbelievable. this is the first metal album i bought since the art of balance in 2002. i first heard "stepping outside the circle" on the take action vol2 sampler and couldn't get enough.

i caught them in cleveland on 9/28 and i had the time of my life. with all the stage diving (by both the audience and the lead singer), crowd surfing, and microphone-in-audience participation, i never would have thought i was at a metal show. they are, without a doubt in my mind, one of my favorite bands, and i normally can't stand metal.

shredding guitars, great drumming, and actual singing(?!) put shadows fall WAY ahead of the average metal band. and any band that closes their live set with motley crue's "live wire" is ok in my book.

i can't possibly recommend this album more.

Big_Guy (October 1, 2004)

"This band will never be close to the same level of Slayer. That's just crazytalk."

Slayer is a bit too sloppy for my tastes but "to each his own" I guess

Oh yeah, this cd is fucking great!

skankin_in_the_pit (October 1, 2004)

That score should be this

skankin_in_the_pit (October 1, 2004)

This band will never be close to the same level of Slayer. That's just crazytalk.

greg0rb (October 1, 2004)

Punched you in the crouch? tee hee for typos.
Greg

Anonymous (October 1, 2004)

I like this band, I love metal, I don't care!

-notfeelingcreative

punkcorekid (October 1, 2004)

hells yea

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