SHADOWS FALL – The War Within

There’s something intangibly convincing about a band who write their own music and play their own instruments. Only oblivious pop-tart suckers could give a rat’s ass about genuine musical talent. But by that same token, those who do write and play their own songs owe it to the ears of the world to output music that is halfway decent. This is where SHADOWS FALL fail. SHADOWS FALL are in need of a songwriting coach for some serious guidance. The band’s latest album, The War Within, is like each of their past albums…a pointless, incongruent melting pot of heard-it-before-but-way-better metal. Every song is poorly arranged with no musical destination or musical purpose. The few parts that are worthy of having a song built around it are scrambled with useless riffs that interrupt potential build-up for the sake of appearing complex. What results is a “whatever works” mixed bag of Euro-metal, a la IN FLAMES, IRON MAIDEN, even ARCTURUS, and dash of American thrash, a la ANTHRAX. Speaking of which, “singer” Brian Fair sounds a lot like Joey Belladonna when he attempts to “sing” clean vocal lines. Of course he lacks the range, and it’s quite apparent that he has no concept of melody (nor the rest of his bandmates for that matter). Don’t get me wrong, guitarist Jonathan Donais is by all means an able lead guitarist but the parts (riffs, vocals, melodies, structures) just don’t equate sonically. SHADOWS FALL have been carrying a flag of promise for a while now but they sadly have no idea where they are carrying it too. The War Within is angry and adventurous but ultimately misguided. I’ll take a one-hit-wonder anyday. (Century Media Records)

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