The Art of Balance is perhaps the most popular choice for people’s favorite Shadows Fall album, their 2002 album was their first to make a dent in the Billboard 200 and the album containing `Thoughts Without Words,’ which was to be the band’s first music video.
The lead singer Brain Fair has a pretty impressive voice, equally talented in catchy melodic singing and aggressive shouting whether or not you are a fan of his singing voice there is a variety on offer with enough hardcore shouts, metal screams and death growls that you’ll find something suited to your tastes.
As always, the album boasts Excellent guitar work from Jonathan Donais and Matt Bachand who come up with some very interesting melodies and a lot of thrashy riffs that never seem to be too derivative but always manage to evoke the classic 1980s sound they are modeled after, very talented musicians indeed and that’s before taking into account their frequent vocal contributions. Chunky metalcore riffs meet will speedy thrash fretwork by way of shimmering acoustic passages at a moment’s notice, but it never sounds mismatched or like the band are trying to get too many disparate ideas into one song, all the material is so smooth and perfectly produced it takes a few listens to decode how complicated it really is. Therein lies the success of Shadows Fall; the music is intensely accessible and instantly listenable however there are many subtleties and nuances for you to hone in on with repeat listens, put simply the album is as complicated as you are willing to let it be.
Highlights include the very catchy `Destroyer of Senses,’ ‘ the impressive seven and a half minute `A Fire In Babylon,’ and the fast and aggressive `Stepping Outside the Circle,’ which not only note worthy for its fantastic musicianship, virtuosic soloing and standout vocal performance, but is indeed extra memorable for containing the lyric `Fear Will Drag You Down.’
Shadows Fall’s brand of Metalcore tinged Thrash Metal may not be to everyone’s tastes, but if you like this sort of music you will find Shadows fall to be very enjoyable and The Art of Balance is one of their finest releases.