Key To Music Grades

A - You will never be whole without it
B - Highly recommended
C - Flawed, but still pretty good
D - It's your money, not mine
F - Why couldn't this have been burned in Fahrenheit 451?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Shadows Fall - The War Within (2004)

I kinda sorta maybe like these guys -- my most precise opening yet, eh? The Art Of Balance is a much better album methinks, but my favorite two songs are on this one. Here, I must admit, I am honestly disappointed with almost everything but the album's bookends. "Enlightened By The Cold" leaves me positively confused -- was that Joey Belladona during the chorus? Or just an earnest impression? Oh, wait, there it is in "Ghost Of Past Failures" again. Ok, if this is a long-lost Anthrax album, it's much too fucking slow. "Inspiration On Demand" doesn't make me feel any better; is Brian Fair trying to sing? Switching from his throaty growls to his (cough cough) mellifluous bird chirps when he wants to whine reminds me of ... emo -- (пиво пожалуйста!) -- which is to say: plaintive shit smears, poorly applied lip gloss, tortellini haircuts -- in short, glam rock poseurs, but without panache.

All isn't a complete loss, though. The album's bookends, for me, are where I become a repeat customer. The opening track, "The Light That Blinds"," is a nice distillation of nasty thrash and beautiful melodicism -- if this song could be replicated musically for the entirety of an album -- any album -- these guys could be the new kings of metal. Oh, and this brief solo is fucking sweet.

"Those Who Cannot Speak" is an amazing end to an otherwise forgettable album; I simply love the opening acoustic passages and how the riffs come pounding down. "The Power Of I And I," "Eternity Is Within" and "Stillness" are also decent heavy numbers. All in all, it's a decent thrash album that you will enjoy if you listen to it, but won't be able to recall anything afterwards (except the bookends), and will occasionally skip a few because you hate whiny suckass bitches. C-


Master Cianan said...

"Tortellini haircuts" may be the best two words put together ever.

The Mad Hatter said...

Yeppers, I was fucking bonkers as soon as I wrote it; simply couldn't contain myself.

Metal Mark said...

It's alright I guess. When listening to these guys I always felt like they were sort of metal and sort of not. Heavy? Yes, kind of. Real metal? Not exactly, they hit some moments yet it just feels a little too restrained and glossy for me.

The Mad Hatter said...

Newer stuff is definitely glossy. I can see what you mean. First off, real metal? I'm a tortoise perhaps, but last time I heard real metal was over 20 years ago. Nowadays, not so much.

The RIpple Effect said...

Loved "Art of Balance." I really thought these guys were gonna' take metal by the short hairs and do something fresh. You know . . . give it that fresh injection of youthful perspective and attitude, basically creating a new and valid movement. Unfortunately, you summed it up well enough on "War Within." Major disappointment and left me going back to "Balance."

Pope JTE

The Mad Hatter said...

Balance isn't amazing, but there's so much more there to enjoy. They got big is what happened, and they changed their sound.