Shadows Fall: Fire From The Sky [2012] Review

Rating: 8.0

Released: 15 May 2012

01. The Unknown
02. Divide And Conquer
03. Weight Of The World
04. Nothing Remains
05. Fire From The Sky
06. Save Your Soul
07. Blind Faith
08. Lost Within
09. Walk The Edge
10. The Wasteland


So much has already been written about Shadows Fall – after all, they’ve been releasing albums for fifteen years now and were considered one of the leading bands in the so-called New Wave of American Heavy Metal (and the sub-genre known as Metalcore) in the early years of this century. So, fast forward to 2012, and they’ve released their seventh studio album titled Fire From the Sky.

Shadows Fall have had the same line-up now for a decade and the past five albums. How many bands can make that claim these days? With so much staying the same, maybe this is what prompted a new band logo that appears on the album cover – a way to inject a feeling of freshness, of something new? This doesn’t carry through to the music though. There is a predictable sound here, with heavy riffs, fast guitar solos, precise drumming, harsh vocals on the verses and smooth vocals (with harmonies) on the refrains. There is no change in direction, but instead a steady progression of what they do so well. For some, this will be disappointing, but it’s a double-edged sword because if you do change, you often alienate your established fan base.

There is so much to enjoy on this album. From the post-apocalyptic lyrics (I found myself trying to imagine living through an end-of-world scenario and coming to terms with the loss of a future), the precision of Jason Bittner’s drumming, the fast solos by Jonathan Donais, the production (by Adam Dutkiewicz), to the vocal performance by Brian Fair – the best of his career. Just on the vocals, there are four or five different vocal types on the album – Fair singing harsh and clean, Bachand clean and growls, and Donais growls. If you don’t like clean vocals then you’ll be disappointed because there is plenty, but I love it. So this album doesn’t forge any new ground but hey, you can’t have everything. These guys have honed their song writing abilities to create a really solid album, a good follow-up to 2009s Retribution.

Of the songs, some brief remarks: “Save your Soul” – so catchy and melodic but not a long shelf life, “Blind Faith” – the stand out track of the album, the screaming by Brian Fair is brilliant (Believing!, Deceiving!), I think this is one of the best songs Shadows Fall have ever made, “The Wasteland” a very good album closer.

In summary, Fire From the Skyis unlikely to make the top spot on end of year lists but this is a solid effort by a very talented band who have had a distinguished career to date.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 6
Production: 8

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