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Shadows Fall - War Within
Label: Century Media
Release: 2004

Light That Blinds
Enlightened By The Cold
Act of Contrition
What Drives The Weak
Inspiration on Demand
The Power of 1 And I
Ghost of Past Failures
Eternity Is Within
Those Who Cannot Speak
War Within - Shadows Fall
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Metal began to poke its head from the grave in the late 90’s up to 2002. All of a sudden, it seemed that Metal was back. Though most of these bands that supposedly carried the flag for the genre were mere amateurs among the music world who’s best albums weren’t even as good as Metallica’s worst. This, by the way, is saying a lot. Therefore a subgenre was created, Nu-Metal. Nu-Metal consisted primarily of Rock bands that would tune their guitars very low, scream at the top of their longs, and have nearly no use at all for a lead riff or solo of any kind. Enter 2004; bands such as Shadows Fall, Killswitch Engage, and Mastodon are at the forefront of trying to bring Metal back to a respectable art form, and War Within might be one step closer to accomplishing that goal.

Many odd years ago Metallica opened Right The Lightning with a small instrumental, the calm before the storm if you will. The breezy calmness of the intro quickly changed into “Fight Fire With Fire,” and the album sped into gear. Shadows Fall incorporate this device with the opener, “Light That Blinds.” Matthew Bachand and Jonathan Donais trade off melodies on acoustic guitars, before switching to electric, and in the process creating one of the most amazing displays of teamwork on the guitar of the past decade or so.

The ability of Bachand and Donais’ power to work together, blending brilliant trash riffs, beautiful leads, and jaw-dropping solos will keep guitarists and budding Metal heads around the world happy. More importantly however, is how the band works together. For an example, “Those Who Cannot Speak,” easily the pinnacle of the album, has everyone in the band putting in 100% percent, and unlike Metallica, you don’t get the sense that everyone in trying to outdo each other. If you are looking for the trashcan-drum hell that invaded St. Anger, look elsewhere. Jason Bittner is a force to be reckoned with when he’s behind the drum kit, pounding the double bass pedal at alarming speeds through the album, yet being able to slow down and accompany the bands more melodic, slower parts within a split second.

Perhaps the most surprising thing on the album is vocalist Brian Fair. Throughout the album, he becomes a chameleon of sorts, showcasing that he can sing both melodically (“What Drive The Weak,” and “Inspiration on Demand,”) and still be an amazing power in the standard scream/growl techniques of contemporary Metal.

Hopefully this album sends a message to other bands out in the market today. Instead of just putting out an average album, Shadows Fall put their blood, sweat, and tears into War Within and the result is amazing. Rock on.

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