Shadows Fall – Threads Of Life Review

Originally written by Jon Eardley

While many metal fans will dismiss this band simply because they’ve had some relative success in the music biz and have escaped the grasp of our precious underground realm of metal, it should be noted that Shadows Fall deserve to be exactly where they are. No, it’s not because they write and record better music than some of your favorite metal bands whom you feel warrant that big contract, or the bigger tours, or simply more recognition. They are where they are thanks to years and years of relentless touring under the shittiest of conditions, trying their hardest to spread the word of metal, and most importantly having a damn enjoyable time living the dream. That’s what it takes to get your name carved into the prized metal mountain of success, and more bands looking for the same type of success should take note of this band’s work ethic.

Threads of Life is the band’s first release on Atlantic Records, and anyone who’s followed the band since their early days will not be disappointed. After a mediocre release in The Art of Balance – which followed the rifftastic and extraordinary Of One Blood release – the band stormed back with their most complete record in The War Within, an album that basically put the band smack dab at the forefront as one of the undisputed leaders of the NWOAHM movement. The band’s latest endeavor takes off right where the previous recording ended, and if you were concerned that the band might lighten up a bit due to Atlantic’s influence, you can toss those worries right out the fuckin’ window. Opener “Redemption” kicks things off and the album’s razor sharp, top of the line production is immediately noticeable. Lead vocalist Brian Fair has never sounded better, and the harmonized back ups show signs that the band truly wanted to take the vocals to a new level on this release.

Songs like the thrash infested “Burning the Lives”, with its urgent pace and pig squeal littered breakdown, is simply superb, and the bluesy, skin flaying leads that flourish over the bone crushing rhythms of Matt Bachand on the tracks “Storm Winds”, “Venomous” and “Dread Uprising” show Jonathan Donais is hardly content to rest on his laurels, as he just continues to get better and better with each release. Acoustic moments seep through the cracks on songs like the ballad-esque  “Another Hero Lost” – possibly Dime-inspired – and the slower acoustic part during the middle of “Final Call” sets up another blistering lead perfectly, not to mention the fully acoustical instrumental track “The Great Collapse” that shows simplicity can equal a beautiful and elegant song. “Just Another Nightmare” flirts with more impressively done harmonized backups, and face shredding closer “Forevermore” gives me goose bumps with its Spreading the Disease-era Anthrax vibe – possibly a result of drummer Jason Bittner having been influenced a bit by filling in for Charlie Benante during some Anthrax sets a year or so ago.

Though not a perfect album by any stretch of the imagination, this is exactly the album I expected from Shadows Fall, and again, fans of the band will not be disappointed. If you’ve never been into their work then Threads of Life will not lure you into the fold, because at the end of the day they really haven’t changed their approach a whole lot outside of becoming even better songwriters and even better all around musicians. With the bit of mainstream success that the band has rightfully achieved they have not compromised their sound and have produced a fun little record that shows it’s not all about evil and darkness. Simply put, Shadows Fall delivers again with a solid album that is sure to please any and all fans of the NWOAHM movement.

Posted by Old Guard

The retired elite of LastRites/MetalReview.

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