Rating:
7.5
Shadows Fall - Retribution
15 September 2009


01. The Path To Imminent Ruin
02. My Demise
03. Still I Rise
04. War
05. King Of Nothing
06. The Taste Of Fear
07. Embrace Annihilation
08. Picture Perfect
09. A Public Execution
10. Dead And Gone


Metalcore innovators, Shadows Fall, have had a lucrative career with several changes in their sound. From melodic death metal, to a more DM influenced style of metalcore and thrash, then finally into the more commercialized sound of metalcore such as on Threads of Life. After the aforementioned release , the band split with Atlantic records and founded their very own Everblack Industries which can be seen as a redeeming point for them, a transition into an additional, yet satisfying metalcore sound.

On this album, a combination of heavy riffs, melodic arpeggios, and highly "thrashtastic" solos can be heard. Songs like "War" (with an impressively blistering solo), "King Of Nothing" and "A Public Execution" are amongst the most aggressive guitar riffs on the album. Bachand and Donais, the six string samurai of the group, also have a good focus on acoustic arpeggios. The opening track, for instance, contains a very relaxing instrumental called "The Path of Immenent Ruin", which is a very clever lead up into the proceeding track. Another example of these stylistic melodies can be seen on "Picture perfect." Not too shabby guys.

Drumming on this album is very straightforward and gets down to business. Jason Bitner, as usual, keeps us entertained with his seamless double bass technique, precise fills, and well thought out cymbal work. He is undoubtedly one of the biggest driving factors to the energy in their music. Though the drumming on this album is not as notable as on previous releases, the job has, nevertheless, been well done. The bass playing on this album, on the other hand is the same as on any other release by the group, adding flavour and accent into the rhythm section, but nothing more. You can tell, though, that Ramanko isn't quite as faded in the production as he normally is which is interesting, perhaps being an omen for him for the future releases, at which point I can only hope he brings more to the table than he has in the past.

The vocals still don't hold the heavy edge that we knew Brian Fair to have in his early days with the band but he does bring back some of his former brutality here, unpredictably dropping into jagged toothed growls from time to time which is very pleasing. For most of time, however, he uses more middle tone vocals. The lyrics are surprisingly dark for our renowned buddhist frontman, but it suits the sound of the album, and was mentioned by Fair as an intended theme for it.

Along with a few well done covers (Most notably Cro-Mags' "Age of Quarrel") this album is pretty decent. If one doesn't compare it to the past albums and just takes it as it is, this one is very much a worthwhile release. I'm happy to see that Shadows Fall has cleared the path for their retribution.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Production: 9


Band profile: Shadows Fall
Album: Retribution


 


written by Arian Totalis | 18.02.2010


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.

Staff review by
Jeff

Rating:
8.0
Of all the Metalcore bands, Shadows Fall remains one of the most respected. The American band was one of the first in the league ok but of course this is just the great quality of a majority of their releases which gave this status to the band. After a so-so previous album, the guys left Century Media and it seems that that they're finally back to something better and less commercial. I'm quite sure that Retribution will be a nice reconciliation for some fans.

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published 11.11.2009 | Comments (7)



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Boxcar Willy - 05.11.2011 at 17:09  
I wouldnt call this metalcore. it has so much thrash in it, imma call it ''alternative thrash melodeth''
Troy Killjoy - 05.11.2011 at 23:48  
Whatever you choose to call it is irrelevant, but you're right about it having thrash elements. Alt. thrash works for the simple fact it draws comparisons to LoG, although I think Shadows Fall are more "core" than thrash.
!J.O.O.E.! - 06.11.2011 at 03:25  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 05.11.2011 at 23:48

Whatever you choose to call it is irrelevant, but you're right about it having thrash elements. Alt. thrash works for the simple fact it draws comparisons to LoG, although I think Shadows Fall are more "core" than thrash.

I quite literally don't see where these "core" elements are. There's virtually nothing here that lends itself to metalcore, be it melodic or otherwise.
Troy Killjoy - 06.11.2011 at 03:49  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 06.11.2011 at 03:25
I quite literally don't see where these "core" elements are. There's virtually nothing here that lends itself to metalcore, be it melodic or otherwise.

I think it can be traced back to hardcore punk inspiring thrash and hardcore+metal forming metalcore. Some people hear things differently even though it's essentially the same thing. You hear thrash, I hear metalcore, when in essence both genres evolved from essentially the same thing.
!J.O.O.E.! - 06.11.2011 at 10:55  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 06.11.2011 at 03:49

I think it can be traced back to hardcore punk inspiring thrash and hardcore+metal forming metalcore. Some people hear things differently even though it's essentially the same thing. You hear thrash, I hear metalcore, when in essence both genres evolved from essentially the same thing.

Mayhaps, Troy, mayhaps. Maybe I just don't want them tarred with the metalcore brush 'coz I like them.
Troy Killjoy - 06.11.2011 at 20:13  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 06.11.2011 at 10:55
Mayhaps, Troy, mayhaps. Maybe I just don't want them tarred with the metalcore brush 'coz I like them.

On the opposite end of the specrum, people who don't want this lumped in with thrash like calling it metalcore.

It's a band with two feet, each dipped in a different pool of water.
Arian Totalis - 07.11.2011 at 20:51  
Yeah I choose to classify them as such because when I first got into heavy metal 'metal-core' was basically a brand new thing and once upon a time that handful of bands brought that sub-genre nothing but a good name. I admit it devolved and the majority of the bands are now shit, but Shadows Fall, God Forbid, Darkest Hour, All That Remains etc were all bad ass bands untill the last 4 or so years. I'm still proud to be a Metalcore fan though, haha.
Angelic Storm - 08.11.2011 at 08:53  
Lol @ not wanting a band to be metalcore because you like them...

I haven't heard this particular album, but I own every other album Shadows Fall have done. And whilst I do loath how some people feel the need to put a band into some sub-label of "core" in order to somehow invalidate them as "real metal", knowing what bands are labelled "core" by some people, then Shadows Fall are probably more metalcore than anything else. However, unlike some, this doesn't mean I don't think they are "real metal", nor do I feel being that automatically makes them a bad band. Im generally not a fan of most bands that are labelled metalcore, but there are a small amount of bands who fall into that category who I really enjoy, and Shadows Fall are one of them. Maybe it's the level of musicianship, I dunno, but I think they are a very good band, and one that I feel are unfairly bashed because they are associated with a sub-genre of metal that is cool to hate for most metalheads. *sighs*

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