Shadows Fall - Somber Eyes To The Sky review
|Album:||Somber Eyes To The Sky|
|Release date:||November 1997|
01. Revel In My Loss
03. Lead Me Home
04. To Ashes
08. Suffer The Season
09. Somber Angel
Ah, Shadows Fall, one of my favourite metal bands. Their genre known to some as Metalcore, known to others as Thrash. However, for their début 1998 release, "Somber Eyes To The Sky," I think that there can be no disputing that it is different from the majority of their discography. This album leans closer to the Melodeath sound, and the only other Shadows Fall album that comes close to the sound of "Somber Eyes" is their second release, "Of One Blood." This is the Labonte era album, when both He and Matthew Bachand departed from their previous Death Metal band, "Perpetual Doom" and formed Shadows Fall. This inevitably had an impact on the sound of the original Shadows Fall lineup. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Somber Eyes album.
Overall, this album is brutal and daunting, harsh and melodic, inspiring and depressing. Yes indeed it seems almost a paradox in itself. It has parts that have particularly clean guitar, and very memorable as well as crushing riffs. There is even an acoustic instrumental entitled "Lead Me Home." Bachand's rhythm work on this album is choppy compared to later Shadows Fall albums, but that helps contribute to the cult sound the album has. Not only that, but the lead work of John Donais is exceptional, while not living up to the technical work of "The War Within" nor the catchiness of "The Art Of Balance," it still is a force to be reckoned with. Would you like to be killed with great fills and double bass work? Well you'll see why David "The Germ" Germain got his nickname, because the drums on this album are also undeniably fast, brutal, and spread like a disease. Labonte has a much more rough, brutal voice on this album than he does today. While not as diverse on this album as he is with his current band, he definitely is one of the biggest reasons why Somber Eyes To The Sky can be appropriately deemed "Death Metal." The opening song, "Revel in My Loss" is a great way to start an album. It's full of instrumental switches, a crazy solo, and Labonte compliments the song greatly with his deep and deadly voice. The fourth track, "To Ashes" is another greatly celebrated Shadows Fall classic. The intro is a great bassline with the drums accompanying it. After that it isn't much longer until the guitars kick off with an energetic and melodic riff followed by Labonte letting out the legendary cry "WHY?!"
I'd say the overall production of the album is a little sketchy, given it's their début album. But for that very reason it has a unique sound, making it worthy of the title "classic." The dragging nature of "Fleshhold", however, makes me feel inclined to take a small deduction from the score.
Album highlights: Revel In My Loss, To Ashes, Lead Me Home.
|Shadows Fall is a household name when it comes to modern metal, yes, that means the "cores". I find this tag to be a death sentence for most bands. Shadows Fall shows that being "core" does not mean whiney bullshit music. This is a truly good release.
Shadows Fall has gained most of their notoriety through their present vocalist, Brian Fair, who is an amazing vocalist, but one thing most people don't know is that before Brian Fair, there was another singer. Yes, back in those gnarly nineties there was another man who sang sweet, sweet metal. His name was Phil LaBonte. Yes, that name is familiar, as he's the vocalist for the Metalcore band All That Remains. Now, most of you are thinking "All That Remains? They suck, so that means the vocals, and this album, must suck." This is not true.
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