Sound — 9
Shadows Fall return again with another solid slab of Massachusetts metal and a new look. The members decided to do a "fresh start" thing with the band and completely redesign the logo for a new era of SF... Even though it still sounds just like Shadows Fall did, nothing new. It sounds very similar to their last effort "Retribution" with no ballads anymore, just well polished metal. Speaking of well polished, "Fire From The Sky" was recorded with Adam D. behind the boards. Most people reading this review most likely know who he is, if not... Just know he makes your album sound GOOD. He also happens to play guitar. Jason Bittner (drums) sounds better and more precise than ever. As for the guitars, provided by Matt Bachand and Jon Donais, they shine on this album. Their tone is great and the clarity through the audio is perfect. Jon's solo's are super tasty as always. Overall the music is very well-written throughout, far from groundbreaking but very solid metal as mentioned before.
Lyrics — 7
I've never been a big fan Shadows Fall's lyrics, and this release hasn't changed my mind, though that's only my opinion. I'm pretty sure Brian Fair (Vocals) is the main writer of the lyrics and definitely delivers them well throughout the record switching through different styles, giving his "Hetfield" style shout, yelling, singing, and his lion roar sounding scream. Matt Bachand lays down his usual death metal growls and smooth, clean singing very well on "Fire From The Sky". The Lyrics consist of a few different themes, mostly revolving around the struggle of another, self struggle, or power. I'm not the best lyric "interpreter" so don't take my word on that, as lyrics are very subjective.
Overall Impression — 9
I'm enjoying this record, It's no "The Art Of Balance" but it's a very solid release. I doubt it will make any best-of 2012 lists but that doesn't mean you shouldn't skip it. Listen to it if you get the chance, and if you like the CD, then buy the CD and support the band! Unlike most modern records which tend to be top heavy (All the good track in the front), I found this one to be the total opposite. I dug the album opener "The Unknown" it starts out with a very signature Shadows Fall sounding guitar riff, and then just turns thrash. It's awesome, also the title track of the album kicks ass and is the most different sounding song on the record, maintaing a dark feel throughout the whole track. The last three track are very good, especially "The Wasteland", the final track. I usually skip over track 2, "Divide And Conquer", it reminds me way too much of Five Finger Death Punch, and I don't like that band at all. I doubt I'd get this album again if something happened, but since its already on my computer, its safe and here to stay.