Disc 1 (of 2)
|2.||All Against All - The Haunted|
Disc 2 (of 2)
These guys rawk! A collision of metal, old and new, Shadows Fall slams you with blistering songs that singe the air. Manic drums, scorching guitars, savage (and sometimes tuneful) vocals all come together to render an album that takes no prisoners. The Massachusetts outfit has been around and stomping since forming in 1996, releasing a half dozen albums in that time. The War Within ranks with the best work they've done, reflected in its ascent to the Top 20 of The Billboard 200 album chart and no less than the number one spot on the magazine's Top Independent Albums list. Metal fans know a great thing when they hear it.
The conflagration commences with the wall of metal of "The Light That Blinds." For all its incendiary appeal -- which plays off nu-metal and trad-metal alike -- there is something very sophisticated about the way the song is orchestrated. The sound is nicely layered and the arrangements and time structures are powerful and captivating. And, as with many of the tracks, the speed lead guitar of Jonathan Donais is a sound to behold.
Sometimes there's a leaden darkness to this music, despite the impressive velocity. So it goes with cuts like "Enlightened By The Cold," ("Single path that I can see/ Emptiness devours me"), and the more measured "Act of Contrition," with its guitar chug and hot-licking lead interjections.
The guys dip into a twin-lead style at regular intervals, somewhat reminiscent of the dual axes of legendary guitar band Thin Lizzy. You can hear it on the number "Stillness," which is a paragon of metal guitar playing. Donais and fellow shredder Matthew Bachand are constantly riffing, ripping, harmonizing, speeding away and looking for openings to fly into. By the time this cut is done, one is convinced that this is very much a guitarist's album (with "air guitar" players welcome to come on board).
Also thrilling/chilling are the part-ballad, part-blast furnace of "Inspiration On Demand," the churning bone-grinder "The Power of 1 and 1," and the jack-hammer pounder "Eternity Is Within."
By the time the final track, "Those Who Cannot Speak," is done, your CD player is going to be hot to the touch. The War Within is relentless, but never monotonous. This disc is a nuclear power plant in a flat, 4-inch-diameter package.
By Adrian Zupp
|Number of Discs:||2|
|Shipping Weight (in pounds):||0.276|
|Product in Inches (L x W x H):||5.0 x 0.42 x 5.63|
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