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Shadows Fall: Retribution

I think it's pretty unanimous among both metal fans and critics that Shadows Fall's previous CD Threads of Life was a major label debut bust. So, the pressure was certainly on the band to rectify things here with their latest Retribution. Mission accomplished. Though Retribution doesn't quite rank up their alongside their stellar Art of Balance or The War Within, it's more than strong enough to instill in their fanbase that this Massachusetts is indeed back with a vengeance.

After the opening instrumental interlude "The Path to Imminent Ruin", the crushing "My Demise" bursts through the mix, complete with all that we loved about this band when they first hit the scene. Raging thrash riffs, blinding lead solos, jackhammer rhythms, and a blend of brutal growls and melodic clean vocals. "Still I Rise" combines tricky thrash riffs with catchy melodies, while "War" is a relentless combination of modern thrash and the band's own form of death metal with a touch of hardcore. Brian Fair really works all his extreme vocal styles on this one, and there's plenty of white hot lead guitar work from axeman supreme Jonathan Donais. The more textured, epic sounding & melodic number "The Taste of Fear" offers up a nice change of pace in the middle of this set, as does the soaring, metallic ballad "Picture Pefect". Wrapped around them are a few more brutal numbers like "Embrace Annihilation" and the killer 1-2 punch of the closing thumpers "A Public Execution" & "Dead and Gone", and you have one pretty varied and enjoyable modern metal release.

Sure, over the last few years Shadows Falls have pretty much been eclipsed by Lamb of God as the new leaders of the New Wave of American Heavy Metal, but they've shown here with Retribution that they are not yet ready to throw in the title. This is a relevant, kick ass return for Shadows Fall, chock full of solid vocals, memorable songs, and wild guitar playing, and all I can say is 'welcome back guys'...we all knew you still had it in you!

Track Listing
1. The Path to Imminent Ruin
2. My Demise
3. Still I Rise
4. War Listen
5. King of Nothing
6. The Taste of Fear
7. Embrace Annihilation
8. Picture Perfect
9. A Public Execution
10. Dead and Gone

Added: October 3rd 2009
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2502
Language: english

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