Friday, November 19, 2010

Shadows Fall

Biography :

Shadows Fall is an American heavy metal band from Springfield, Massachusetts, formed in 1995. They are one of the few contemporary metal bands who take their lyrical influence from Eastern philosophy. Although the band has experienced several line-up changes, for most of its recording career Shadows Fall has been composed of Brian Fair (vocals), Jonathan Donais (lead guitar), Matt Bachand (guitar), Paul Romanko (bass), and Jason Bittner (drums).

Shadows Fall have released six studio albums, two compilation albums, and two DVDs. The band's first album featured Philip Labonte on vocals, although he was soon replaced by Fair. Shadows Fall's first two studio albums featured David Germain playing drums, but in 2002 Bittner joined the band full time. In February 2008, the band was a Grammy Award nominee in the category Best Metal Performance for the song "Redemption" off the album Threads of Life.

History :

Formation, Somber Eyes to the Sky, and Of One Blood (1995–2000)

Shadows Fall formed in 1995 by guitarists Jonathan Donais and Matt Bachand with the help of Adam Dutkiewicz. Donais and Bachand recruited vocalist Philip Labonte, and bassist Paul Romanko to complete Shadows Fall's original line-up. The band released their debut EP, To Ashes, with Dutkiewicz playing as a session drummer. After the release of the demo Dutkiewicz left to form Killswitch Engage. David Germain joined the band as drummer, to fill the empty position. Shadows Fall toured the New England area opening for artists such as Fear Factory and Cannibal Corpse. The newly formed band recorded its first studio album Somber Eyes to the Sky, in November 30, 1997 through Bachand's recording label, Lifeless Records. The band's name, according to Bachand, comes from the title of a comic book published in the early 1990s.

In 1998, Labonte was asked to leave the band due to personal and artistic differences. He later formed the band All That Remains. The band looked for a replacement vocalist and found Brian Fair at an Overcast concert. After a US Summer tour with Shai Hulud, Overcast disbanded and the band asked Fair if he would like to join Shadows Fall. While on tour Shadows Fall was signed to Century Media Records. The band recorded its second studio album Of One Blood with Fair on vocals in 2000, the release included re-recorded songs from Somber Eyes to the Sky. In 2001, David Germain decided to leave the band due to alcoholism, and was replaced by former Stigmata drummer Jason Bittner.

The Art of Balance (2001–2003)

Due to repeated comparisons with Gothenburg melodic death metal bands, Shadows Fall decided to change its style to find its own sound. Inspired by more thrash, hard rock and power ballad influences, the band recorded its third studio album, titled The Art of Balance. Released on September 17, 2002, the album peaked at number 15 on the Billboard Top Independent albums chart. Shadows Fall released three music videos to promote the album; "Thoughts Without Words", "Destroyer of Senses", and "The Idiot Box". The Art of Balance featured a cover of the Pink Floyd song "Welcome to the Machine". Steve Huey of Allmusic stated the album is "a modern heavy metal album that is both brutal and highly musical, traditional yet forward-thinking", but criticized the placement of "Welcome to the Machine", stating the song "is stylishly well-executed, but seems a tad out of place nonetheless." Shadows Fall supported The Art of Balance by touring on Ozzfest in 2003.

The War Within (2004–2006)

Shadows Fall released its fourth studio album The War Within on September 21, 2004. It was the first release to enter the Billboard 200 for the band at number 20, and peaked at number one on the Top Independent albums chart. In promotion for the album, Shadows Fall released four music videos over the course of one year; "The Power of I and I", "What Drives the Weak", "Inspiration on Demand", and "Enlightened By the Cold". The song "What Drives the Weak" received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Metal Performance in 2006, however the award went to Slipknot for the song "Before I Forget". "The Light That Blinds" was featured in the video game Guitar Hero II. Wade Kergan of Allmusic praised the album stating the band has "grown beyond the confines of the metal-loving hardcore crowd anyway, with more in common now with the classic thrash of Metallica than the metal-tinged hardcore of Coalesce". As of 2008, the album has sold almost 300,000 copies in the United States.

Shadows Fall released its first DVD The Art of Touring in November 2005. The DVD included a live concert, backstage footage, and six music videos. The band released its final CD on Century Media Records, titled Fallout from the War on June 13, 2006. Released as a compilation album, it debuted at number 83 on the Billboard 200. Fallout from the War included tracks recorded for The War Within that did not make it on to the album, b-sides, re-recordings, and cover songs. David Jeffries of Allmusic claimed the album is "a great informal introduction to the ferocious and melodic witches' brew Shadows Fall always seems to nail."

Threads of Life (2007–2008)

Shadows Fall signed a deal with Atlantic Records to distribute the band's albums in the United States, and a deal with Roadrunner Records for international distribution. The band released its fifth studio album Threads of Life on April 3, 2007. "Redemption", the first single from the CD was released on February 20, 2007 through iTunes with an accompanying music video. "Redemption" received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Metal performance; the award ceremony as held on February 10, 2008. Slayer's "Eyes of the Insane" won the award. Thom Jurek of Allmusic stated Shadows Fall has "lost none of the fire, attack or attitude" on Threads of Life. Jurek also said the album featured "killer guitar breaks, big fat chugging riffs, power-slam skin work, cattle prod bass, and cool little hooks and melodic touches on top of those bludgeoning riffs make Threads of Life a major label debut of merit, and a metal record worthy of celebrating." Keith Bergman of stated "Threads of Life is slick as hell."

Shadows Fall toured in support of Threads of Life, including making appearances at the J├Ągermeister tour with Stone Sour and Lacuna Coil, the Operation Annihilation tour with Static-X, 3 Inches of Blood, and Divine Heresy, and the Black Crusade tour with Trivium, Machine Head, Dragonforce, and Arch Enemy. The band was a part of the Soundwave tour in Australia and in Asia in February 2008, along with Killswitch Engage, As I Lay Dying, and Bleeding Through.

Retribution (2009 onward)

Shadows Fall released their sixth album, Retribution, on September 15, 2009, through the band's own label, Everblack Industries, which was created in conjunction with Warner Music Group's ILG, Ferret Music and ChannelZERO Entertainment. It is being released in the UK via Spinefarm Records. The album was produced by Chris "Zeuss" Harris. Drummer Jason Bittner recently stated about the band's new material, "The songs are a little more on the darker, angry side... lots of heaviness, lots of crazy guitar, and LOTS of room for me to have some fun. There is no doubt in my mind that this will be the best performance of my career, so far, and I owe that to my guys for bringing me incredible riffs to write killer drum parts to." As of the fall of 2009 the band was appearing on the 'Shock & Raw' tour of North America with 2Cents, Otep & Five Finger Death Punch. After a South American tour, Shadows Fall will be playing on the Jagermeister Stage in the 2010 Rockstar Mayhem Festival in July and August 2010. The band is also scheduled to support Lamb of God on their Australian tour in December Shadows Fall is pleased to announce their first and only New York City performance this year, taking place at Santos Party House on December 18th, 2010.

Shadows Fall released a live CD/DVD, Madness in Manila: Shadows Fall Live in The Philippines 2009, on October 26, 2010.

It has been hinted in an interview that Shadows Fall may head into the studio to record a new album sometime early 2011

Band Members :

Current Members :

* Brian Fair - Lead Vocals (2000–present)
* Jonathan Donais - Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals (1995–present)
* Matt Bachand - Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals (1995–present)
* Paul Romanko - Bass Guitar (1995–present)
* Jason Bittner - Drums, Percussion (2002–present)

Former Members :

* Philip Labonte - Vocals (1995–1999)
* David Germain - Drums (1995–2001)

Session Members :

* Adam Dutkiewicz - Drums (1996)
* Derek Kerswill - Drums (2001–2002)

Discography :

Studio Albums :

* Shadows Fall - Somber Eyes to the Sky
* Shadows Fall - Of One Blood
* Shadows Fall - The Art of Balance
* Shadows Fall - The War Within
* Shadows Fall - Threads of Life
* Shadows Fall - Retribution

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