Shadows Fall - Threads of Life
Full-length, Roadrunner Records
April 2nd, 2007
Released by Atlantic in the US.
1. Redemption 04:17
2. Burning the Live 04:04
3. Stormwinds 04:50
4. Failure of the Devout 05:25
5. Venomous 03:31
6. Another Lost Hero 04:04
7. Final Call 06:48
8. Dread Uprising 04:14
9. The Great Collapse 01:36
10. Just Another Nightmare 04:55
11. Forevermore 05:18
Bonus tracks on Best Buy edition:
12. Fade Into Smoke (b-side) (4:03)
13. Dread Uprising (Live Rehearsal) (4:07)
Written by o2w4e on April 9th, 2007
Shadows Fall?s last album, ?The War Within? was somewhat of a disappointment but ?Threads of Life? erases any thoughts I?ve had about their best being behind them. The new album isn?t as good as ?Of One Blood? or ?The Art of Balance,? but it?s still an amazing album and leaves very high hopes for the future.
?Threads of Life? kicks off with a barrage of thrashy riffage which leads to an almost Pantera like verse riff with Hetfield-esque vocals. The opening song, titled ?Redemption? is an excellent precursor for things to come. The thrash riffage, the haunting melodies, the very powerful clean vocals of guitarist Matt Bachand, the ripping soloing, and the masterful drumming are all showcased in this one track.
The vocals on this album are easily the best yet for this band. Brian Fair, the band?s front man with super long dread locks resembling sausages, has definitely evolved as a singer. He has much better control of his clean vocals, as evidenced in the beautiful ballad, ?Another Hero Lost.? He uses his Hetfield like rasp quite well, where it was more or less forced in the past. Still present is his signature hardcore style growl/scream. His is one of the more unique growls in modern metal. Fair does an excellent job mixing his vocals on this album. Matt Bachand?s clean vocals are very clear and powerful. The use of his voice has always been there, but not until ?The War Within? and now this album on an even larger scale have they really been put to use. His vocals combined with Brian Fair?s make for a truly unique vocal performance.
The lyrics are still dominated by thier trademark more positive than negative, introspective, being one with yourself, empowerment, themes. However, there are a couple exclusions. The track ?Another Hero Lost,? is an emotional ballad that seems to be based on a soldier, possibly wounded, in Iraq, or somewhere else overseas. ?Failure of the Devout? is a thrash-fest with riffs reminiscent of classic Slayer, that tells of the shortcomings of religion. This isn?t really anything new for Shadows Fall however, where this theme has been heard in earlier tracks such as ?The Mystery of One Spirit? from ?The Art of Balance.?
As for the guitars, the rhythms are as strong as ever; a bit more thrash than the last album. They are more akin to ?The Art of Balance? than ?The War Within.? There are definitely still traces of both. Matt Bachand?s driving rhythms can hold up against the metal greats such as Metallica and Slayer. Much of the rhythms on this album bring to mind the pummeling, unrelenting, edge of Metallica?s ?Ride the Lightning.? Then there?s Jonathan Donais? lead playing. He may have already surpassed many of the metal legends who preceded him. His technical abilities are unquestionable. His soloing was a little disappointing on ?The War Within,? but the epic solos of their earlier albums have returned with some fresh new melodies. Donais? is as skilled a metal player as there ever was. On this effort, he has ripped out some blazing leads in the vein of Zakk Wylde as well as some haunting melodies to rival Kerry King and Jeff Hanneman. The acoustic instrumental as well as the acoustic sections on other tracks such as ?Final Call? are astoundingly good. Donais and Bachand have always been very good at crafting such beautiful passages though. This is one of the most entertaining aspects of their playing.
Jason Bittner?s drumming is as always, remarkable. He has easily become one of the best drummers in metal today. There is one thing in particular that sets him apart, especially on this album. He?s not constantly blastbeating, which seems to be a short coming of many modern metal drummers. Bittner comes up with many fresh, intricate runs, while still keeping true to the song and he never overdoes the double bass. Any metal drummer looking to take it to the next level should look into this album. Jason Bittner provides an excellent model for any aspiring drummer.
All in all, this is another great effort from Shadows Fall. They continue to find a way to set themselves apart from the bands in a scene they helped create. This record is in many ways more accessible than their previous offerings but this is no because of the move to a major label. Anyone who has listened intently to Shadows Fall through the years, will realize that this is the direction they were heading in all along. The vocals have gradually changed with every album. They have grown together as songwriters and with that, have crafted many excellent pieces on this album, ?Threads of Life.? Shadows Fall belongs at the top of this genre.