The More Things Change
Pioneers of what one might call “melodic metalcore,” Shadows Fall are back with their 6th studio album Retribution. Shadows Fall have found the perfect balance between big name money and creative control, between radio friendly melodies and very heavy metal. Even with so many bands sounding like them these days, Shadows Fall is still showing the kids how it’s done.
Retribution is an interesting album because each song is very different from the next without straying too much from the typical Shadows Fall sound. Though the album does work as a whole, listeners will find themselves focusing more on each song individually, like “Still I Rise,” one of the obvious hits of the album with its epic, catchy chorus. The very next song is “War,” a face-pounding, hardcore thrash song. Almost completely incongruous, somehow neither seems out of place.
The song “King of Nothing” has a very traditional metal sound to it with squealing guitar licks and heavy double bass, reminding one of early Metallica. Then there is “A Public Execution,” another pummeling thrash masterpiece.
The one theme that does tie Retribution together is Shadows Falls’ love for old school metal, thrash and punk. They really put the emphasis on the “metal” and the “core” in metalcore rather than making one watered down amalgamation like many of the newer groups doing this style. Even if you’re not a fan of that style, Shadows Fall have obviously become excellent players over the years and Retribution is worth the listen for the musicianship alone.