Shadows Fall

Shadows Fall



“We just wanted to write a full-on metal record,” says Brian Fair, lead singer of Shadows Fall. “We were like, ‘I don’t care what’s going on, nowadays — let’s write some fucking metal!’ I mean, that’s always been our attitude, but this time we went even further into our rock and thrash roots.” Threads Of Life, the new album by Shadows Fall, is a bracing blast of extreme heavy metal, a heady brew of old-school sensibilities and cutting-edge hard rock delivered with passion, precision and a refreshing lack of pretension. Dubbed “the reigning purveyors of everydude metal” by Revolver magazine, the hard-touring, beer-chugging Massachusetts quintet has handily surpassed the high standards set by their critically feted 2002 release, The Art Of Balance, and its even-more-acclaimed 2004 followup, The War Within — the latter of which had sold over 270,000 copies to date, and received a Grammy nomination for the track “What Drives The Weak”, amazing feats for an independent release. One of the original forces behind the New Wave of American Heavy Metal and undisputed leaders in that scene, Shadows Fall are currently on the verge of propelling themselves into the classic metal pantheon with Threads Of Life. Produced for maximum sonic impact by Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, Stone Sour, Rush) at Studio 606 in Los Angeles, Threads Of Life is a masterful achievement by a band that continues to push the envelope artistically while remaining true to its core sound and audience. “Nick was able to get performances out of us that we didn’t even expect from ourselves,” Fair enthuses. “Structurally, we had worked out a lot of the stuff before we even got to the studio, but he really brought new life to things sonically — different layering of guitars, vocal harmonies that we wouldn’t have thought of, great ideas like that.” For those who’ve already been paying attention, the band’s continued musical growth won’t come as much of a surprise — in terms of pure musicianship, Shadows Fall has long been one of the most highly respected bands in the metal community, boasting a lineup that could easily go toe-to-toe with rock’s most legendary players. Guitarists Matt Bachand and Jon Donais are former guest columnists for Guitar World magazine, and the pair recently had the honor of being included in the mag’s “Top 100 Guitarists of All Time” list. Bassist Paul Romanko is a regular contributor to Guitar World’s Bass Guitar magazine, while drummer Jason Bittner pens a column for Modern Drummer, whose readers voted him “Best Metal Drummer” in year-end polls for 2005 and 2006. And with his four-foot-long dreadlocks, powerful vocals and commanding stage presence, Brian Fair — a frequent guest host on MTV’s “Headbanger’s Ball” — is one of the most charismatic and recognizable frontmen in metal. All five members bring a wide variety of influences to the table, as well. “Jonny’s always been into 80s metal and 70s rock,” Fair explains. “Matt was really into death metal and grindcore back in the day, but he also likes all sorts of singer/songwriter stuff; Jay has a real prog background — he’s a huge fan of Rush and Dream Theater — and Paul’s the old-school punk rock and hardcore dude. I kind of came up through 70s rock, and then found the hardcore scene, but I’d always been listening to a lot of jazz, reggae and spacey stuff.” But as with all great bands through the ages, when Shadows Fall make music together, the disparate influences and personalities somehow coalesce into a single vision. “There are really no egos in this band,” affirms Fair. “We’re always going to have the technical aspect of our music, because these boys can play. But we want to incorporate all of that into a song framework; it’s all about trying to create the best song, and everyone understanding how they fit into it. “Of course,” he adds, “when it’s time to let it rip, we let it rip!” “Redemption,” Threads Of Life’s anthemic opening track and lead single, is a veritable crash course in Shadows Fall’s patented mixture of metallic riffage, hardcore aggression, and melodic uplift. “This is the Shadows Fall sound condensed into four minutes,” laughs Fair. “I think it’s a perfect representation of what we do. And I think it really encapsulates the entire album, which is why we opened with it — it has a little bit of everything you’re going to get in the next 45 minutes!” “Final Call,” the album’s epic seven-minute centerpiece — which includes some spectacular twin-guitar shredding from Donais and Bachand — is a rallying cry for hope and togetherness in a time of cynicism and despair. “So many of the ideals and goals of our government seem to be so far from what I’m trying to accomplish in my life, that I feel like I’ve been exiled to my own little plane of existence,” says Fair. “But at this point, I’m fine with it, because I think there are others who feel the same way, and I think there are more of them


1998 To Ashes 1998 Somber Eyes to the Sky 2000 Of One Blood 2001 Deadworld EP 2002 Fear Will Drag You Down 2002 The Art of Balance 2004 The War Within 2006 Fallout from the War 2007 Threads of Life