Sound — 9
Shadows Fall has always been a band I've been infatuated with, from their earlier years to their first effort on their own label. Guitarist Jon Donais and drummer Jason Bittner have always left me in awe after each album from a technical standpoint, and everything about them has always been crushing, and "Fire From The Sky" is no exception to that. It is a continuation of their previous work that adds in something new; some heavier influences from more classic thrash metal bands like Metallica or Slayer. The guitar playing has changed a little, but in a way that somehow adds something new yet takes away nothing from their previous work. That's hard to do musically. The vocals here can be equally melodic and crushing, guitar work is as brilliant as ever, and the drums never disappoint. Jason Bittner has won awards and recognition, and he hasn't lost a step.
Lyrics — 7
The lyrical work on this album isn't supposed to be considered conceptual. A hand full of songs however, are supposed to reflect today's culture and the possibility that we may be on the path to destroying ourselves. I wouldn't doubt that one bit, but that's a discussion for the pit, not my review. I don't think from a poetic standpoint that the lyrics are incredibly complex, but they do make use of metaphors instead of just yelling whatever comes to mind into the microphone which is more than I can say for a lot of metal bands. And they do have statements to make. Going back to what I said in the first paragraph, I think the album shines the most from an auditory point of view. The actual sound of the vocals surpass the lyrics. And to be quite frank; I'd rather that I enjoy what I listen to than agree with the political or cultural views of a horrible singer/screamer.
Overall Impression — 9
Overall, I prefer this album over their last release, "Retribution". It wasn't a bad album, but I probably think it's my least favorite. There weren't a lot of tracks that I felt were "punishing", and it seemed like they were wondering where to go now that they didn't have a big corporate label telling them were to go. I think they have eased their way back into their old selves but kept their integrity by trying some new things on "Fire From The Sky". I really enjoy "Save Your Soul", "Weight Of The World" and although "The Unknown", which is the title track isn't a favorite of mine, it's a prime example of the thrash element they're introducing here. And it sounds good. I'd definitely get the album again if it were taken from me. And it's an absolute steal at only $9.99. And the version from Best Buy has a bonus DVD with it as well. Can't go wrong for that kind of money, and more of it is going towards the artists rather than the record company than their previous records. This last statement might be bold, but I feel I need to say it. Bottom line: I think this is their best work since "The War Within".