SHADOWS FALL - At War With Core!
by Martin Popoff
Shadows Fall have thrashed, pounded and most graphically toured, their way to the top of the New Wave Of American Heavy Metal scrap heap. And in a fortuitous, almost blessed turn of events, just before the band's eagerly awaited The War Within album (see www.shadowsfall.com) hits the streets, its predecessor, The Art Of Balance, has just Soundscanned over 100,000 units (109,000 SOLD as of last count). Listening to the new album, you find yourself feeing all sorts of Master Of Puppets signals, this verge-of-breakthrough rush, this glimpse of metal greatness. The album is clean, powerful, surging, full of purpose, and, as drummer Jason Bittner explains, possessed by wild mood swings.
"Hmm... I would say in a nutshell, without being overly analytical or going through the album track by track, versus Art Of Balance, it's about 60% heavier and about 40% more accessible, I would say. And the reason I say that is, there are songs on this record that are heavier than any songs we've ever written before. We're in the practice room going, 'Holy shit! That riff is pretty brutal, there.' And then there are songs that have more elements of musicality than any songs we've ever done before. Like, in terms of the textures of the music and some of the vocal ideas and melodies that Matt and Brian decided to push the envelope with. I think, on a whole, it came out amazing, and I think it's years beyond Art Of Balance. And not to mention that everybody progressed as a musician, on all of their respective instruments."
I immediately mention the production, which is precise, clear-headed, and then walloped by freewheel burnin' guitars. What gives there?
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