Friday, 1 June 2012

Review: Shadows Fall - Fire From the Sky

 I've had a long time love for Shadows Fall. They're one of the finest bands that just play solid heavy metal in a way that can unite fans of metalcore and thrash metal. More-so, they've always been able to carry a genuine sound of classic heavy metal without intentionally playing the kind of riffs that were popular in the 1980s like your average 3 Inches of Blood or Steelwing. From the outset of their seventh album Fire From the Sky, there seems to be change occurring across the band. they've settled on a new logo which looks like the missing link between the logos for Evanescence and Decapitated and deals with themes with a bleaker and more apocalyptic state of mind attached. Musically however, it's once again the sound of classic Shadows Fall. I have no problem with this.

 And the main reason I have no problem is that they bring together of adrenaline packed thrash riffs, pounding breakdowns and brutal grooves that officially prove that Lamb of God are now influential but on Fire in the Sky, the sound is sharper than it's been in a very long time. With metalcore hero Adam Dutkiewicz producing once again, the resulting sound is the sound of the band that have found a new freshness and drive to create heavy metal that manages to be beautiful and brutal at the same time.
 Opener The Unknown plunges straight into this display of pure heavy metal with an explosive opening of hyperactive thrashy lead guitar picking from Jonathan Donais accompanied by Matt Bachand's crunching breakdowns. And alongside the haunting melodies of the chorus the song tells us already that despite the newfound hyperactivity this remains one of the darkest and most doom-laden releases so far.
 There's a varying range of metallic performances across the album and each is as exciting, energetic and fresh as each other. Whether it's the juggernaut grooves of Nothing Remains that suggests that Black Sabbath, Sleep and Orange Goblin has been listened to or the deadly intro of the album's title track that sees riffs crawl out like spiked roots twisting round listeners ears dragging them into a metallic oblivion.
 But as someone who's recently been starting to hear traditional metalcore beginning to grow stale and unexciting, (Demon Hunter) it's amazing to hear just how much of an exhilarating rush Shadows Fall is able to keep Fire From the Sky sounding, while sticking to traditional metalcore values. So no trance beats anywhere.
 There isn't really much else to say about the album. Basically, it's probably Shadows Fall's finest work to date. Brian Fair's performance is at it's most passionate, while the band's performance is sharpened to a tee. Even with such a negative emotional impact, there's still an extreme rush of metallic intensity and fiery exhilaration. I've not really gone around describing an album as "Must-Have" but, here ya go!

 Shadows Fall's Fire From the Sky is out now via Razor & Tie. The band will play at Download Festival at Donnington Park, Derby on 10th July.

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