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Old 04-17-2006, 09:39 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Post Shadows Fall-The Art of Balance

Shadows Fall

Century Media Records
2002

Tracklist:
- Idle Hands
- Thoughts Without Words
- Destroyer of Senses
- Casting Shade
- Stepping Outside the Circle
- The Art of Balance
- Mystery of One Spirit
- The Idiot Box
- Prelude to Disaster
- A Fire in Babylon
- Welcome to the Machine (Pink Floyed cover)

How do you achieve the art of balance? Well first, one must be at a complete state of mind, clear of all thoughts evil. Nothing can distract your trance, and if it does then you’ll lose it. What advice can I give you? Well, the best advice would be to not listen to Shadows Fall, but that is a blasphemy in, and of itself. So I say screw achieving an art of balance, and listen to one the greatest heavy metal records in existence, Shadows Fall’s The Art of Balance. \m/

Born, and raised on a healthy (or not so healthy) dose of Metallica, Pantera, and other infamous metal bands, this Boston, Massachusetts based unit has been making metal for over a decade now, and in 2003 reached their musical peak with The Art of Balance. Three singles spawned from the album, Thoughts Without Words, Destroyer of Senses, and The Idiot Box. All three were well received by the metal community, and because of the popularity of the singles this technically proficient album eventually went gold, which was a first for the bands then current label, Century Media. Ever since then the band has been considered the forefront of the so-called “new wave of American Heavy Metal”.

This is without a doubt a face smashing, bone breaking, and nut crushing metal album. Wait, nut crushing? Uh, of course, how else do you describe the immaculately unrelenting double bass from drummer Jason Bittner? Something that is so thoroughly obvious on the opening track Idle Hands, which is a great way to open the album, as it shows how heavy, and melodic the Shads can get. It’s rough on the edges with standard heavy riffs played by guitarist Matt, and has some catchy vocal work to it. Brian Fair delivers bestial vocals that are flawless, and at times even catchy. The lyrical content of the song is rather scary to be honest. Here’s the chorus of the song- “Overwhelming, desire to react. I am too far-gone, forever turning back. Searching for something to lash out at. Turning inward it is myself that I attack.”. Now that’s some ***ing forceful lyrics.

The whole album is fairly brutal, but still stunningly beautiful at the same time. Which is due to axe man Jonathon Donais. His lead guitar work is almost second to none in the whole metal world. Songs such as Stepping Outside the Circle are so jaw-droppingly technical, and melodic at the same time it’s hard to believe. The song is obviously the musical standout because it features heavy, technical playing, a short, soft interlude, and a brilliantly long guitar solo. Even bassist Paul can be heard a tiny bit on the song. He usually takes up the hard task of keeping up with Matt. Songs such as Stepping Outside the Circle, and Idle Hands certainly show the bands thrash elements, but they manage to make it enjoyable too. If this whole album wasn’t simply amazing enough, the very last track is a cover of Pink Floyd’s Welcome to the Machine. It is truly an impeccable cover. Shadows Fall manage to distinctively keep true to the original song, especially the sweet vocal work. Even though it does stay true to the sound, it can’t be denied that the Shadow boys clearly made this song even better than the original. The building chords simply keep me in awe the whole time.

The Art of Balance is full of fist pumping, body moshing metal. It’s hard to not stand up and punch a hole in the wall while listening to it. Each song serves its purpose, and is entertaining too. There isn’t one boring song, in fact, each song is at least of superb quality. This album is full of raging, technical, heavy, and melodic metal that it’s without a doubt one of the greatest albums of all time.

5/5 Classic:Flawless
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Old 04-17-2006, 09:48 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I liked this album the first few times I listened to it, but they weren't song that I could sit down to for a long time, playing the CD over an over again.
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Old 04-17-2006, 09:56 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Can a mod include the same poll I have on the Anberlin review in here? I can't add a poll once I submit the thread.
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Old 04-17-2006, 09:56 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Yes. they can, ask TheBig3KilledMyRainDog nicely....very nicely.
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Old 05-11-2008, 05:05 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Saw them on tour with this album...great show. I want to see them again.
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