Shadows Fall: The War Within [2004]

Released September 21, 2004
Recorded April – May 2004 at Planet Z Studios in HadleyMassachusetts
Genre Thrash metalmetalcore
Length 42:21
Label Century Media
Producer Chris “Zeuss” Harris, Shadows Fall

The War Within is the fourth studio album by American heavy metal band Shadows Fall. The album has sold over 300,000 copies worldwide.[5] The War Within is the bands best selling album, and in 2005 made sales history on Century Media Records when it became the labels best selling album of all time.[6] To date, the album retains this status. The album was also issued as a limited edition digipak with an exclusive bonus DVD that featured bootleg concert footage along with drum and guitar lessons from members of the band. The album debuted at number 20 on the Billboard 200 during its release.

Lyrical themes

The following is a quote from Tom Bejgrowicz, who worked closely with Brain Fair on the overarching themes and concepts portrayed by the album. He also designed the album artwork.

The idea for The War Within turned to one man – any man, mind you – and the chaos and beauty that surrounds each of us here on earth. Birth, death, love, hate, riots, pollution, power, religion, nature, corruption of the mind, the soul, and so on. By simply living, we are open and susceptible to them all – to confront each of them, from within.

The track “Those Who Cannot Speak” is dedicated to Brian Fair’s autistic niece and nephew. Fair explained in an interview:

It’s something I’ve dealt with with my niece and nephew who’ve had different forms and mild learning disabilities when it comes to speech – associating objects with language and things like that. And I also read a lot of Faulkner and he always seemed to have characters that kinda had that amazing poetry in their internal monologue but couldn’t speak. And that always intrigued me.


The War Within received positive reception on its initial release. The album debuted at position no. 20 on the Billboard 200 — the bands highest charting album. Wade Kergan of Allmusic notes that the band has grown beyond the metal-loving hardcore crowd, now having more in common with the classic thrash of Metallica.[1] Michael Gluck of Lambgoat commented that the album “delivers itself with a fury and honoring of eighties metal guitar and vocal harmonies.”[3]

The song “What Drives the Weak” received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Metal Performance in 2006, however the award went to Slipknot for the song “Before I Forget.”[10][11] In a 2009 MetalSucks feature titled “21 Best Metal Albums of the 21st Century… So Far”, the album was listed as number 20 based on poll data from professionals in the metal industry.[12]The editors wrote, “The Art of Balance, their third album, was solid, but The War Within was where they really hit their stride. The dual guitars of Donais and Bachand spotlighted great solos and dual harmonies that could be appreciated by both Anthrax fans and pentatonic sweep enthusiasts.”

Track listing

All lyrics written by Brian Fair, all music composed by Shadows Fall.

No. Title Length
1. The Light That Blinds 4:58
2. “Enlightened by the Cold” 3:02
3. “Act of Contrition” 3:41
4. “What Drives the Weak” 4:44
5. “Stillness” 4:52
6. “Inspiration on Demand” 3:52
7. “The Power of I and I” 3:34
8. “Ghosts of Past Failures” 4:13
9. “Eternity Is Within” 4:08
10. “Those Who Cannot Speak” 5:15


1. The Light That Blinds

A crack forms in the foundation
Fault line through your defenses
Illuminating the essence
Once clouded by a myth

Store bought conformity
Force-fed duality, I warp reality

The comfort that you will find,
As you remain hidden.
The light betrays,
casting your true self away,
They remain blinded.

As Vanity possesses me
I am turning further away
Gripped by a belief in empty words
Driven by a need to prove

The shell may wither
But the fire burns eternal

You hide behind
The light that blinds

Will never find
What burns inside
You remain blind
Behind the light

2. Enlightened By The Cold

When you never know
Is when it’s always there,
It seemed so clear…

The slightest touch
To catch the breath,
It turns it all around

Single path that I can see,
Emptiness devours me

Enlightened by the cold.
It overcomes the torment.
(What if I could bring you back?)
Enlightened by the cold

Enough to burn through walls
Built on anguish
Can I be revived?

Let it hit with force
Strong enough to blind.
The numbness heals.

My worth is only defined
By the next disaster

3. Act Of Contrition

Feel the cold hands upon me
Recollection of my betrayal

My betrayal!

It is not the pain inside yourself
That tears the deepest wounds

I drift along suspended in shadows
Cold memories escape the haze
With sobriety comes recollection

It is not the pain inside yourself
That tears the deepest wounds

It is the pain that you create
That consumes your very soul

A specter of despair
Built on good intentions

It is not the pain inside yourself
That tears the deepest wounds

It is the pain that you create
That shreds your very soul

4. What Drives The Weak

This time released security
Controlled dose of tranquility
Forgetfulness washes over me
Put to rest the voices of insanity

Only the sinners remain
As another night
Becomes a yesterday

Come on! Anesthetize the panic
It is what drives the weak
You’re gone! Anesthetize the panic
Putting all uncertainties to sleep

Not an altered state of mind
But a safer place in an unsafe world
Within the nearness of death
Rapture in the skip of a heartbeat

5. Stillness

Impermanence is always swift
Treasures of this world are fleeting
Our eyes blinded from the gift
Within the way there lies the meaning

All natures are pure
All appearances are empty

Shrouded in sensation and delusion
Consumed within unknowns
Shrouded in sensation and delusion
All will collapse and fall

All wisdom is treasured
All wealth is a shadow

Inexpressible in words
Embrace the stillness
Endless source, Eternal bliss

Absence of the mind is liberation

6. Inspiration On Demand

Where has it all gone?
Have all of the words escaped?

Inspiration on demand
Emotions all displaced

‘And I will wander endlessly
Seeking all the answers that I let slip
through my fingers.
I will wander endlessly
Seeking all the answers that
I let slip and fall away.’

Turn it all around
It melts into sound
(unfolding… ever growing)

Torn from my rest
Though I still fight to stay.
The images dissolve
As the day invades

A second to react
The mind too slow to act
(unfolding… ever growing)

Drown the voices of restraint
Make them choke to silence

Incinerate the ropes
And embrace the hope
(unfolding… ever growing)

Splintering the doors
Free the mind to soar
(unfolding… ever growing)

Turn it all around
It melts into sound

7. The Power Of I And I

We are given the gift of creation!

We are given
All of the light
And purity of the universe

We are the ones
Who will create
The snarling beasts of human nature

The world withing myself
The power of I and I

True piece of mind
Is not bestowed
Upon us by the heavens.

The evils of man
Are spawned within
The confusion of our own mind.

Hiding the purity that flows
From the root of which we rose


8. Ghosts Of Past Failures

The ghosts of past failures

Facing the reality
Of our own imperfections

The waves crash without warning
Overwhelmed and short of breath
Never able to escape
The bloodstains upon your hands

I AM! Still bleeding you
From wounds you’ve never known
I AM! Still bleeding you
From wounds you’ve never known

The core of our being
Torn out and cast aside

I never looked this far away
Never saw what lies ahead
In the midst of false comfort
The scars were hidden but never healed

9. Eternity Is Within

Man has programmed himself to die
A death wish has been ingrained
Almost with our first breath
We are taught to expect our last

Science has done its best to choke off
The true instincts of mankind
Death is impatient and thoughtless
Mortality is a disease of the mind

Embrace the gifts before you
Paradise is underfoot
Eternity is within

Lost site of the bounty before us
Boundless resource of pleasure and plenty
Living for an intangible
In a future clouded with doubt

One step forward is one step
deeper into the grave

Breathe… breath of life

10. Those Who Cannot Speak

Scream out against the glass
The sound reflected unable to escape
Desperate to connect
Lashing out at words that fail to appear

Bound In Silence
The Failure Of Sound (never learned)

Instinct urges on
As the mind creates its own obstacles
Waging internal war
Between the objects and the abstract

Eloquence of the inner voice
The poetry of the condemned
A stream of consciousness
Never to be understood

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