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Shadows Fall - "Fallout From The War" (CD)

Shadows Fall - "Fallout From The War" CD cover image

"Fallout From The War" track listing:

1. In Effigy
2. Will To Rebuild
3. Haunting Me Endlessly
4. Seize The Calm
5. Carpal Tunnel
6. Going, Going, Gone
7. Deadworld
8. This Is My Own
9. December (Only Living Witness cover)
10. Mark Of The Squealer (Leeway cover)
11. Teasin’, Pleasn’ (Dangerous Toys cover)

Reviewed by on June 25, 2006

"No Shadows Fall fan should be without Fallout."

By their very nature, B-side packages are supposed to be lackluster. Even the greatest bands churn out flimsy tunes from time to time. Often these songs never see the light of day or they get lumped into box sets for obsessive collectors. Shadows Fall claim that “Fallout From the War” is not a collection of malformed leftovers, but rather songs that were just unfinished when production wrapped on “The War Within”. To their credit, Shadows Fall have never turned in a halfhearted effort, so it was with an open mind and quickening pulse that I pressed play on “Fallout From the War.”

Album opener “In Effigy” comes storming out of the gates with rapid fire drums, propulsive riffs and Brian Fair’s trademark lion’s roar. An immediate chorus greets the listeners at the 25 second mark. So catchy and memorable is the chorus, that the guitar lead is as enticing to hum as the the lyrics are to sing. Capitalizing on the energy already established, “Will to Rebuild” champions the human spirit in the aftermath of disaster, namely hurricane Katrina. Never has the band’s hardcore inflected message of perseverance been more energized. “Seize the Calm” finds the band alternating tempos to great effect. Instrumentation is simplified for a mid-song bridge where crooned clean vocals implore the listener to “Seize the calm, it holds more than life.” To punctuate this message a guitar solo screams to life and evaporates all to quickly. A guitar riff reminiscent of Metallica’s “Through the Never” opens “Carpal Tunnel”. All performances on this track are impassioned but the song meant to address the bands detractors somehow lacks the punch needed to put them in their place. Fair’s lyrics are hit (“Silence your voice” and “Break your fingers”) and miss (“What is it you hope to gain from this?...NOTHING!”). It’s the fact that Fair answers his own question that dulls the impact. Old school hardcore and full speed modern thrash collide headlong in “Going Going Gone.” Fans of the bands high velocity material need look no farther than this demonstration of excessive force. “Dead World” finds the band reanimating their “Of One Blood” sound with excellent results. Devilish vocals and a forceful rhythm section take this song into darkest realms of the bands sonic template. Predatory guitars transform a quiet suspense building interlude into a furious monster of a breakdown. The song left me with goose bumps as the howled vocals faded from existence. Tribal drums and a rubber band bouncy bass lines open the albums first cover “December”. This song is sung almost entirely in warm and resonating clean vocals. “December” is the albums most straightforward song, more rock than thrash but still remarkably heavy. Shadows Fall sacrifice their own sound the least on “Mark of the Squealer”, a Leeway cover and much loved obscurity in many punk and hardcore circles. “Teasn’ Pleasn’” is a vibrant cover of a late 80's party anthem by Dangerous Toys. While the song may have many fans hitting the skip button, this cover captures the lighter side of a band that most often lurks in the dark.

No Shadows Fall fan should be without Fallout. It is a great album in it’s own right and a fantastic companion piece to The War Within. The album captures all eras in the bands history. “In Effigy” finds the band in the here and now while “Deadworld” is a marvelous portrait of the band’s much loved origins. If any fault can be found in “Fallout” it is merely the sequencing of the tracks. While this is a minuscule complaint, the organization of previous albums felt agonized over. Such attention to detail paid off in spades on both The Art of Balance and especially The War Within. The albums three covers are largely successful and far outshine their take on “Welcome to the Machine” from The Art of Balance. Shadows Fall are a band in transition, with a fresh label deal inked with Atlantic records and their final piece for Century Media hitting the shelves. While the band pave the way to their major label debut, “Fallout From the War” closes this chapter of the Shadows Fall saga with a deafening bang.

Highs: NO FILLER! Even when the band falters, it is for a split second never for an entire song.

Lows: Tracks organized by category. The first six tracks are originals, the next two are reworked rarities the final three being covers. The album opens and closes well but some shuffling of the center could have made for a more engrossing whole.

Bottom line: It seems that Shadows Fall are among the most infallible bands on America’s metal front. Few bands have matured so gracefully while cultivating such a massive popular-underground following.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)