Shadows Fall

The Art of Balance

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In The Art of Balance, Shadows Fall has created a modern heavy metal album that is both brutal and highly musical, traditional yet forward-thinking. Songs like the complex "Stepping Outside the Circle" demonstrate not only crushing heaviness, but an impressive grasp on dynamics, melody, and arrangement. Brian Fair's vocals oscillate from articulate melodicism to sheer, throat-tearing menace, while Jonathan Donais' guitar work combines pounding, metallic crunch with careful virtuosity. Amidst the full-throttle rockers that make up the bulk of the album are a couple of short instrumentals ("Casting Shade," "Prelude to Disaster") that offer a few well-placed moments of quiet atmosphere. The cover of Pink Floyd's "Welcome to the Machine," placed at the end of the disc, is stylishly well-executed, but seems a tad out of place nonetheless.

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