Shadows Fall - The Art of Balance
Century Media
Melodic Hardcore/Death Metal
11 songs (47'28")
Release year: 2002
Shadows Fall, Century Media
Reviewed by Alex
Album of the month

Shadows Fall debut on Century Media, Of One Blood, received a lot of praise. I got to that album kind of late, but in my opinion all the hoopla was deserved. My fellow reviewers on Metalreviews called it Children of Bodom influenced, I personally thought it was more In Flames, but Shadows Fall were definitely on their way to creating their own sound. With The Art of Balance the band, and its own sound, have arrived.

When I hear that the band has “Hardcore” roots, I get skeptical. For some reason, I expect angry, dumbed down and not well-thought out heavy music which is only Metal’s second cousin. Shadows Fall have changed my perception, and I am willing to bet they will change yours if you give them a try.

Instead of one after another mosh-pit cauldrons of hate, Shadows Fall is a combination of classic thrash riffs, untamed aggression of the modern day American heavy music and engulfing Swedish style harmonies. Want proof? The first two songs on the album Idle Hands and Thoughts Without Words fit the above description entirely. Add varied vocal approach ranging from clean melodic singing to passionate screaming or death metal growls and the picture is more or less complete. But, trust me, you will be digging through this jigsaw puzzle of a music discovering new morsels of pleasure in the process. When you think the band is forgetting the “roots” they come back with Destroyer of Senses and The Idiot Box. I can guarantee that lovers of the headbanging, all-out stompers will gather like flies on honey for those two tracks. At the same time, lead from Mystery of One Spirit and awesome solo and bass lines in the quieter portions in Stepping Outside the Circle feel like they have been express mailed directly from Sweden. Wait, there is more – three introspective pieces, two instrumental tracks with all kinds of guitar feedback, echo and reverb, plus, the “ballad” The Art of Balance. Actually, what starts as a ballad ends up being an excellent passionate mid-tempo melodic death metal song. To floor this reviewer entirely, two closing tracks are an “epic hardcore” (if there is one) masterpiece A Fire in Babylon and cover of Pink Floyd’s Welcome to the Machine. The latter deserves special mentioning. Much heavier than Pink Floyd’s song on Wish You Were Here, it still maintains all the atmospheric qualities. It honestly made me want to revisit that 1975 record I haven’t played in years.

Folks, you heard it here first. Just like Swedish town of Gothenborg has spawned a Metal style, Shadows Fall may have started something we will call Massachusetts Metal five years from now. So far, though, Shadows Fall, are the only representatives.

The second CD containing the band’s bio, a couple of videos and an interview is only a bonus to an already one of my Top 10 albums of the year.

Killing Songs :
All of them, but Idle Hands, Thoughts Without Words, A Fire in Babylon, Welcome to the Machine are 11 on the scale of 10
Alex quoted 91 / 100
Jay quoted 93 / 100
Aleksie quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Shadows Fall that we have reviewed:
Shadows Fall - Fire From the Sky reviewed by Leah and quoted 76 / 100
Shadows Fall - Retribution reviewed by Boris and quoted 70 / 100
Shadows Fall - Threads of Life reviewed by Jeff and quoted 75 / 100
Shadows Fall - Fallout From The War reviewed by Marty and quoted 80 / 100
Shadows Fall - The War Within reviewed by Jay and quoted 99 / 100
To see all 7 reviews click here
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