Shadows Fall The War Within

Good lord, is the hype machine ever working on this five-piece Massachusetts act who are being touted as damn near the band that’s going to save metal as a whole. The band rocks mightily, the band rocks hard, the band even rocks cheesy once in a while in true metal fashion; all told, the band rocks just like they did last time around. And there’s the problem: The War Within is an excellent disc, combining pleasing melodies, foot-stomping hardcore and thrash-tastic frantic moshers, but this sounds so much like the band’s last disc it’s eerie. Songs like the killer one-two punch of "Enlightened by the Cold” and "Act of Contrition” are instant SF classics, burrowing their way into your cranium after a couple listens, thanks to vocalist Brian Fair’s melodic singing, which contrasts nicely with his admirable screams. But again, that feeling of familiarity rings through all of the album’s tunes. The production sound drives me up the wall with its perfection, everything sounding way too clean, too separated, too clickety-clackety perfect and too glaringly shiny, not to mention the bass drums which sound hilarious. Overall, The War Within is perhaps a bit too comfortable and familiar, but a shredding good time nonetheless. If the next album sounds like this again, there’s going be trouble a-brewin’ though. (Century Media)