Shadows Fall The Art Of Balance

For most bands, an album like Shadows Fall's Of One Blood would be a curse: it was a perfect slab of melodic hardcore-influenced Gothenburg thrash that seemed impossible to follow up. However, with their third album, The Art Of Balance, these genre-benders have done it, raising the bar to a level that will be unsurpassable by all but an elite few. "We just don't care anymore," says guitarist Matthew Bachand. "Before, we'd say, 'oh, that's not a melodic metal riff, so it wouldn't work in this song,' even if it is cool. With this record, when we came up with something, we used it. That's why it's so different, that's why you've got the two-and-a-half-minute rock and roll song, the eight-minute metal epic and the acoustic pieces," says Bachand. Although not a concept record, The Art Of Balance plays smoothly, creating an exhilarating listening experience. "We wanted a record like Queensrÿche's Operation: Mindcrime - you put it on from beginning to end and it just flows," says Bachand. "It's not as much about each individual song as it is about the whole album. "The Art Of Balance also finds the band spending more time in quiet, introspective mode than before, with the title track itself being a quasi-power ballad. This isn't to say Shadows Fall are going unplugged, rather they are spending time looking at all ranges of emotion instead of the static rage so often dwelled upon in metal. "We've been hearing of some people not liking it, but if you go back to our roots, like the old Testament records, they always had a ballad on them," says Bachand. "We come from that and the school of rock and roll, like old Mötley Crüe. We make sure there's guitar solos, we're trying to bring that back." (Century Media)