Shadows Fall Threads of Life

Man, I was hoping for something huge with Shadows Fall’s major label debut, like the second coming of Metallica circa ’86 or Pantera circa ’94 ⎯ a metal album for the new millennium huge. Then I remembered Lamb of God’s Sacrament came out last year — what more could I want as far as mainstream, ass-kickin’ metal? Well, some Shadows Fall action — the melodic thrash they’ve patented at this point — backed up with major label moolah, that’s what I want. But somehow this falls flat. It’s not that the band haven’t completely perfected what they do — fast, melodic thrash with a hardcore edge, gang backup vocals and blistering solos — it’s the predictability that comes from hearing several Shadows Fall albums and the frustration of seeing a band get good at something then sticking with it so intently. Still, opening track "Redemption” is as catchy and as full of great riffs as anyone could ask for, "Storm Winds” has an opening guitar part most bands would kill for and "Another Hero Lost” is possibly a great ballad or perhaps a stinker — the verdict’s not quite in, even after repeat listens. It’s a solid Shadows Fall album, one that we’ve seen the band create before, but it’s just not the landmark disc we were hoping for. (Atlantic)