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Of One Blood
Released: 2000, Century Media
Shadows Fall are from the Massachusetts, USA. "Of One Blood" is the band's first release on the Century Media label and the first that I've had the pleasure to hear. I've heard people complain that these guys are hardcore. Well I don't know about their past releases, but this one is definitely NOT - because if it was I would not of liked it so much!! This is aggressive metal that at times lapses into the death metal realm. Fans of bands like In Flames, Slayer, The Haunted, Arch Enemy and OLD Machine Head will like Shadows Fall as they incorporate elements of all these bands into their sound. They also thrown in death metal sounds, mainly in the vocals and are not held back from incorporating clean parts - vocally and musically. This is quite the diverse range of sounds which will have something to offer fans of different types of metal.
At times all these influences makes me think that Shadows Fall are a confused band. But on the other hand, this crossing of metal musical genres is also their strength. One minute the vocals sound like death growls, then black metal shrieking, then melodic clean vocals, then hardcore sounding vocals. Man, they pack allot of vocal styles into a song! Thank the metal gods that the songs themselves are all metal and that the hardcore vocals are not the most prominent. The most prominent style of vocals are more of the death metal type and the clean vocals - imagine In Flames mixed with more clean vocals. The music is also diverse and there are some very well executed melodic lead guitars on here! They have the required brutal parts and intense riffing a la In Flames but they can then slip seamlessly into a clean/acoustic part. They also have melody - for example the beginning of the title track "Of One Blood" sounds similar to a melodic Arch Enemy thing. The track "Crushing Belial" sums up what the band are all about as it has all these elements. If you prefer to be smashed over the head with brutality then the thrash riffing in "Fleshhold" will have you banging. Also check out the backing vocals on this one. It's clean vocals to the front with death growls in the background - very cool indeed. If you like doomy atmospheric sounding stuff then "Root Bound Apollo" will enlighten (depress?) you. Some keys near the beginning help with the sound followed by some very nicely played clean guitar parts...then bang, it gets very heavy! Listening to this CD, you won't know what to expect next!! I expect it will take me a few more listens to actually grasp this band and the diversity of their music.
Although "Of One Blood" is being toted as an album that will change lives - it's not quite all that. It is a fine example of a mixture of styles such as thrash and death metal with more melodic elements. Shadow's Fall are definitely a band to keep your eyes, and ears, on.
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