April 24, 2008

Test Spin: Shadows Fall

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It took them eight years, but New England’s metalcore-tinged thrashers, Shadows Fall, have finally re-released their seminal album, Of One Blood, with the re-mastered production it truly deserves.
The original mix was abysmal. It sounded like the lesser offspring of Iron Maiden recorded it in a hotboxed garage. (My band’s demo had more clarity, and we recorded that for $200.) None of Shadows Fall’s brilliant twin guitar melodies, catchy alternating vocals or heavy groove riffs were distinguishable. By the time the band could afford a decent studio, they had lost all of their Swedish-influenced, tremolo-picking charm, and we were left with the boring follow-up, The Art of Balance.
For a metal record, Of One Blood is fist-pumping fun on a highway drive, rocking background music for a football game with friends, and, given the positive and somewhat inspirational lyrics, acceptable to share with Grandma. I’m not sure how she’d handle Brian Fair’s hardcore-styled vocals, but guitarist Matt Bachand’s gorgeous, clean choruses will have her making devil horns in no time.