AlbumsNovember 29, 201116,117 views

Shadows Fall The War Within

01. The Light That Blinds 02. Enlightened By The Cold 03. Act Of Contrition 04. What Drives The Weak 05. Stillness 06. Inspiration On Demand 07. The Power Of I And I MP3 08. Ghosts Of Past Failures 09. Eternity Is Within 10. Those Who Cannot Speak
2004 Century Media Records
Our score 8


Shadows Fall set the bar so high for themselves with the 2000 release Of One Blood, an album so mature that it reflected music more often associated with a veteran band, that hopes were naturally dashed when the more modern, rock-oriented, and overall laidback album The Art Of Balance followed a couple of years later. The effort was a good album with strong songs, but far from the follow-up that their legion of new fans and especially patient older ones from the Sombre… era had been expecting. Pair that with a mushrooming of the metalcore movement, and Shadows Fall, musically at least, were in danger of being obscured by the other bands treading the path that Shadows Fall had paved. They were bands who sprouted to the forefront of modern metal based on the strength of one or two frighteningly good albums alone, as Shadows Fall had a few years earlier, and included the likes of Himsa, All That Remains, Bleeding Through, Lamb Of God, and Killswitch Engage. All Shadows Fall needed was one convincing and unforgettable thrash metal album to re-enter the quality and popularity race, in addition to a much-needed renovation to their sometimes lagging setlists. The War Within is that album. It will most definitely be a surprise for fans and critics who had written off Shadows Fall in recent years that The War Within delivers itself with a fury and honoring of eighties metal guitar and vocal harmonies which many thought were long forgotten by the band after two albums of delivering exactly that. Shadows Fall are one of those metal bands where an album opener can set the tone for the type of thrashing that will be delivered in the songs to follow. The excellent opener "Idle Hands" set a tone for The Art Of Balance that did not accurately deliver on its initial promise, but that is not in question here on their new album. While the rock vibe is still evident in at least half of the tracks, including "Act Of Contrition" and "What Drives The Weak," it is wisely blended with competent traditional soloing which nostalgically extends to a full minute, extended Metallica-esque bridges (as in "Enlightened By The Cold"), and mosh-inducing breakdowns strategically included for that purpose exactly. Even on the album's mid-paced tracks, an intense expression of texture almost always blankets the old-school influences, a telling outcome of both Jon Donais and Matt Bachand’s generation-bridging songwriting ability, and one that is sure to draw in new fans of all ages. Rest assured however, no matter how much Shadows Fall have changed since their early days, the original primary elements of their sound have continued to improve, especially Donais’ leads, which could very well be Shadows Fall’s deadliest weapon and biggest source of appeal to a discerning heavy metal scene which is quick to judge, easy to dismiss, and difficult to impress. Another outstanding regularity on The War Within are the inventive yet wholly fitting drum patterns of former Stigmata and Burning Human drummer Jason Bittner. Having apparently arrived late to the writing sessions of The Art Of Balance (clearly a handicap to the final product), adequate worldwide touring with Shadows Fall since the release of that album has allowed him to adapt his style and finally integrate into the band. Perhaps due to his coverage in Modern Drummer, sitting with the material for longer, a desire to create a more rumbling rhythm section, or a combination of the three, his flavorful drums let the music speak for itself, such as on the soon to be classic "Inspiration On Demand," yet completely destroy on tracks like "Those Who Cannot Speak," the album closer. Bottom Line: The War Within is an album that ironically finds the balance between thrash, hardcore, and rock that The Art Of Balance failed to do. Much-missed Shadows Fall trademarks including massive double-bass beats and fills, hauntingly melodic vocals courtesy of Matt Bachand, and lethal guitar leads all return on this album. The band will never be as unendingly fast as they were on Of One Blood, a potentially sad revelation, but one that is largely offset by the sheer strength and honesty of this ten track beast.


Post Comment
john_doe_ 9/19/2004 1:10:36 AM

first post, beyotch

Vorak_ 9/22/2004 11:45:28 AM

This disc rocks. Thats all.

homesic_ 10/1/2004 3:39:03 PM

I was pleasantly surprised with this album.

Stephen_ 10/1/2004 4:37:02 PM

Whoever designed their logo is a douche.

wiggy_ 10/1/2004 5:09:31 PM

Hawkin(s)_ 10/1/2004 5:56:49 PM

Garbage, pure garbage!

asdf_ 10/1/2004 6:21:29 PM

this album is a generic piece of shit

Fdean_ 10/1/2004 6:43:05 PM

Ordinanry, generic, and uninspired. Not worth an 8.

YurhedaSplode_ 10/1/2004 8:30:49 PM

Overrated, shit, generic, trl-core shit. Century Media had to have threatened to have a hit put out on the lambgoat's collective families for you guys to have given this shit an 8. Reviews like this one represent everything that sucks about music.

MIKERULE_ 10/1/2004 9:17:45 PM

Nice one but no, I will be reviewing the new Haunted and Diecast albums and neither will get more than a 6.

Ohhhhh_ 10/1/2004 9:26:08 PM

it's a good album, for my 9.99 it was worth it.

ChemicallyImbalancedSloth_ 10/2/2004 12:49:08 AM

I like the album, but im not going to rush out to buy it. P.S. when you're talking about openers, try to metion the actual opener, "the light that blinds", the best song on the album.

MIKERULE_ 10/2/2004 5:14:40 AM

Obviously you are incapable of understanding implied facts: "The excellent opener "Idle Hands" set a tone for The Art Of Balance that did not accurately deliver on its initial promise, but that is not in question here on their new album" and voila your p.s. suggestion is granted.

zyklonbeaarthur_ 10/2/2004 10:38:39 AM

"trl-core"? yes, because i see shadows fall on there all the f*cking time, and they are oh-so pop. its this type of elitist tripe that give online music discussion such a bad name.

Conner_ 10/2/2004 1:09:29 PM

I'm diggin this album. I love the solos.

ILIKEBOOBS_ 10/2/2004 2:16:22 PM

i already bought this album beofre, i think it was called art of balance.......nothing new here, a waste of money and time

Dup_ 10/2/2004 5:25:23 PM

Good review!! This album is way better than I thought it would be, Im glad this band is back on track.

T.J._ 10/3/2004 5:35:24 PM

This album along with the new Lamb of God are awesome, the only kids i hear complaining are the kids who are fans of shit bands like Converge and Throwdown who dont know good metal

aswb_ 10/3/2004 5:35:44 PM

It is very obvious that those of you calling this album "generic", or comparing it to Art of Balance, are not musicians. The songwriting is so far beyond anything they've done in the past. Did you people actually LISTEN to this album?

aswb_ 10/3/2004 5:43:56 PM

P.S. I'm so f*cking sick of people trashing a band for doing something they love (and doing it very well i might add), when there is no way in hell they could they could write songs even remotely as good. If they could we would be reading their bands review instead. f*cking children dont even deserve to listen to this calibur of album

T.J._ 10/3/2004 7:14:41 PM

Yeah alot of these dorks listen to shitty bands like Bleeding Through, Throwdown, (new) Killswitch Engage, Eighteen Visions or As I Lay Dying and then have the balls to call Shadows Fall generic.

anonymous 10/4/2004 12:26:17 AM

makes generic comment about how anyone that disses a band and has a different opinion listens to the typical garbage and their opinion is void

Alyson_ 10/4/2004 2:23:13 PM

awesome album

Alyson_ 10/4/2004 2:23:51 PM

awesome singer!

Kevin_Lovelost_ 10/4/2004 6:53:11 PM

cant beat 7.99 at best buy

13225_ 10/5/2004 10:28:45 AM posted by wiggy () on 10/1/2004 5:09:31 PM Garbage, pure garbage! posted by Hawkin(s) () on 10/1/2004 5:56:49 PM this album is a generic piece of shit posted by asdf ( on 10/1/2004 6:21:29 PM Ordinanry, generic, and uninspired. Not worth an 8. posted by Fdean ( on 10/1/2004 6:43:05 PM Overrated, shit, generic, trl-core shit. Century Media had to have threatened to have a hit put out on

Ohhhhh_ 10/5/2004 3:59:42 PM

no, they don't even listen to those bands some of you mentioned, they listen to the most obscure bands and consistently say "this band is my fav" then next week, it's a new band. And once one of their "old favorites" gets popular, to the least extent.....that said band becomes "gay", "lame", etc etc. it happens with EVERY band. 9 times out of 10, the kid doing the retarded comments is still in high school.

6.4 out of 10_ 10/6/2004 5:32:38 PM

8 out of 10 times I'd say that 8 out of 10 lambgoat ratings are too high.

Fdean_ 10/7/2004 12:33:38 PM

This album has been put out 20 times over by Swedish bands ten years ago.

zyklonbeaarthur_ 10/7/2004 1:35:15 PM

yeah, they sure aren't original, but i sure as hell don't give a damn. clones of shit that was great is still great. they rock like metallica, in flames, and testament rocked (well, testament still rocks last i checked), so i enjoy them.

wiggleberry_ 10/8/2004 11:50:20 AM

Shadows fall is a talented band that isn't doing anything original. They don't stand out at all above this annoying fad of melodic metalcore. The incessant shredding gets old quickly and there really aren't any catchy or moving riffs or songs amongst any of the material they've released. Totally disposable band.

xbreed_ 10/15/2004 2:44:24 PM

same old shadows fall sound nothing new. waste of a cd Id say

faggots, all of you_ 10/16/2004 12:21:05 PM

The people that are ripping on this don't listen to 18v or Atreyu. That one duder was right, they listen to obscure bands that don't make dull, uninspired drivel like this. They listen to bands that make unique music that isn't made for the sake of getting on Headbanger's Ball.

LifetoLifeless_ 10/18/2004 7:20:01 PM

Original or not, this album is great. Those of you who hate this album don't know good metal.

anonymous 10/19/2004 2:06:18 PM

yes obscure crap, either montonous drone crap like khanate or slow, boring "ambient" non-metal like neurosis or old man gloom. i like my metal to bring the rock, not the nap. shadows fall is totally inspired, just because its on mtv once a week you dumbasses feel the need to knock it.

logan_ 9/11/2006 8:33:56 AM

shadows are ace. stop the bickering, you are all putting casting on metal... stop it. "This album has been put out 20 times over by Swedish bands ten years ago." ^^^ no mate, i think that would most likely be 20 albums that sounded like it. i dont think killswitch are generic either... no more so than your own soul.