Shadows Fall - Fire From The Sky
Record Label: Razor & Tie
Release Date: May 15, 2012
With their 2012 release Fire From The Sky, Shadows Fall has taken their old sound of melodic metalcore with plenty of thrash influence and let in the new influence of death metal similar to In Flames, still showing off a prominent metalcore edge. With a heavy use of clean vocals, a blend of numerous different styles, and an constantly increasing level of precision, Shadows Fall has clearly come a long way from their debut album fifteen years ago. Their sound continues to change with each album, showing a remarkable level of songwriting skill and creativity.
With all these different styles combined into one, all attention turns to Brian Fair, the vocalist of the band, because he has to find the perfect execution to match. Luckily, Fair absolutely nails it with powerful power-ballad like crooning on the softer and simple sections and deep death metal growls in the heavier and thrashier moments. Also, the near-perfect production quality just makes his voice (and everything besides the drums, really) shine and complement the rest of the music. Of course, there's nothing interesting in the constant reference to death and similar themes in the lyrics. There are only a few interesting songs as far as lyrics goes, "Divide and Conquer" standing out above the rest.
The creativity of this band lies solely in the unique genre and the brilliant guitar work from Jonathan Donais. Moments of pure thrash with double bass drums and speed picked riffs clash with moments of slower and more powerful breakdowns and the occasional soft section. This ends up keep the album interesting all the way through. But to add to that, Donais writes skillful and interesting riffs that always add an element that allow the band to stand out even more in the crowd of both death metal and metalcore bands. Even right from the start, his great guitar work is heard in "The Unknown," and in a mosh-inducing riff and breakdown in "Divide and Conquer." Donais just shows a level of guitar mastery and riff writing that makes him stand out above other guitarists in the genre, and he could probably carry the weight of the band on his own. There is a "borrowed" riff or two, however, with "Blind Faith" showing off a riff just like Iron Maiden's "Hallowed Be Thy Name" and an almost identical chorus to Disturbed's "Stricken."
Through the years, Shadows Fall has been releasing albums and improving on the weak points. After fifteen years and seven albums, they've done nothing but improve. The final outcome is quite impressive, and paired with the more refined production and vocals, flawless guitar tones, and flowing and diverse song structures, Fire From the Sky proves to be one of the band's best releases yet.