Retribution review by Shadows Fall

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  • Released: Sep 15, 2009
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.2 (43 votes)
Shadows Fall: Retribution
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Sound — 8
Shadows Fall have left the major label kingdom after one album 2007's Threads of Life, which was released via Atlantic Records- and they are back in the indie system, sort of. The band's business associations haven't dampened or hampered their metal spirit, as Retribution retains all the elements that helped propel the band to Big Three status, something it has shared with Killswitch Engage and Lamb of God, in the revival of the American Heavy Metal that kicked off in the earlier half of the decade. Retribution is classic Shads: shreddy, solo'y, thrashy. The band's twin guitar attack has always been what's special about Shadows Fall and Matt Bachand and Jon Johnny Rock n Roll Donais are doing what they do best and that's popping off the riffs that serve as the foundation of the band's sound. Still I Rise pummels relentlessly with the thunderous drum acrobatics of Jason Bittner, but the song also shifts gears into melodic territory for the chorus, effectively balancing heavy and accessible at the same time, while King of Nothing is tried and true Shadows Fall, ripe with headbanging moments and pure metal power. It's also got a guest vocal from Lamb of God's Randy Blythe, furthering upping the metal ante. The album isn't sterile or clean, either; it's the rough, raw edges that make the album so mellifluous to a metalhead's ringing, tinnitis-affected ears.

Lyrics — 9
Brian Fair, he of the ass-length dreadslocks, is like a younger James Hetfield, able to employ three distinct levels or tiers of vocals. He has a scream, a clean vocal and a mid-level, gruff range that is just another weapon in the band's layered arsenal of sound. He's prone to introspection in his lyrics he is the self-professed metal hippie and all- and Retribution doesn't halt that hallmark. Fair's lyrics have always had a bit of a spiritual and enlightened bend to them and he's keeping in line with what we expect from him. It's as though Fair's lyrical declarations are the calm amid a storm of metal guitar work and a booming rhythm section.

Overall Impression — 8
Shadows Fall have always planted one foot in the past and the other in the modern era. They're as easily influenced by classic Anthrax and Megadeth, even Slayer, as well as they are by current-day Metallica. While their sound is rooted in the long-gone-by heyday of thrash, the band isn't doing the retro thing and nor are they a throwback. Fair's vocals allow the band to sound fresh, as does the guitarwork. The band doesn't spent too much time checking the rear view for inspiration, but they do respect the bands of that generation on Retribution.

49 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Fender700
    Lohnanmilitia : I must be the only person that thinks this album is pretty terrible. Granted i wouldnt really call myself a shadows fall fan, but i can appreciate music when its good, and this is not. Generic poppy metalcore. I definately wouldnt put this band up there with Killswitch. Yes the guitars and drums have their moments, but other than that, its a very forgettable album in my opinion
    well If this is "generic poppy metalcore", Killswitch and ATR must be also. Shads came before both of these bands and have survived the over-saturated metal scene. I think these guys are a very overlooked and underappreciated. cant wait to hear the new album.
    iowaguitarshred
    Hellfire_85 wrote: just another mtv band now, not surprised.... metalcore really has been sucked dry
    Are you ****ing retarded? Seriously? Are you putting Shadows Fall in the same category as Taylor Swift, Green Day, Panic at the Disco, etc? I'm sorry, but anybody who says ANY metal band is mainstream are ****ing stupid and I'm sick of hearing it. It might have been a valid point like 10 years ago when most people listened to metal, but compared to other genres, metal is a dwindling genre. I havent heard one Shadows Fall song on the radio yet. I dont know ANY teenagers that listen to Shadows Fall (or metal, yes even Slipknot, for that matter). God I'm so sick of that "Yeah, they're not metal, MTV plays them" bullshit. You've probably seen them on some show, that hardly anybody watches, like headbangers ball. Yeah, in the small metal community and amongst your small group of friends , that might be a popular show, but in the general, broad music community, hardly anybody watches that ****ing show. They're too busy watching rap fueled VMA's and Lady Gaga vids to give a shit about the bands who YOU think are mainstream.
    Jon777
    Lohnanmilitia wrote: I must be the only person that thinks this album is pretty terrible. Granted i wouldnt really call myself a shadows fall fan, but i can appreciate music when its good, and this is not. Generic poppy metalcore. I definately wouldnt put this band up there with Killswitch. Yes the guitars and drums have their moments, but other than that, its a very forgettable album in my opinion.
    Whatever, dude. "Generic poppy metalcore" sounds pretty good with this type of musicianship.
    Lohnanmilitia
    I must be the only person that thinks this album is pretty terrible. Granted i wouldnt really call myself a shadows fall fan, but i can appreciate music when its good, and this is not. Generic poppy metalcore. I definately wouldnt put this band up there with Killswitch. Yes the guitars and drums have their moments, but other than that, its a very forgettable album in my opinion.
    cotton3434
    sXe170 wrote: They don't seem metalcore to me. The seem like a regular heavy metal band with alot of Thrash metal, and a little death metal influence. No matter though, with this release, Best American Metal band today, hsnds down.
    Er.... no. Between the Buried and Me and Redemption are both infinitely better, though Redemption isn't quite as good as BTBAM (as of Colors) in maintaining song quality with every song. But then maybe I'm just being stupid and not realizing you're talking genre-wise.. That said, this is pretty good. Shadows Fall were one of the first bands I got into, so it's nice to see they haven't crapped out like some others. *glares at Metallica* Best song imo is My Demise. Really creative solo work, the kind I didn't expect from this band. And yeah, definitely not what I would call metalcore - seems like they dropped that with Threads of Life, though this is much better.
    sXe170
    cotton3434 wrote: sXe170 wrote: They don't seem metalcore to me. The seem like a regular heavy metal band with alot of Thrash metal, and a little death metal influence. No matter though, with this release, Best American Metal band today, hsnds down. Er.... no. Between the Buried and Me and Redemption are both infinitely better, though Redemption isn't quite as good as BTBAM (as of Colors) in maintaining song quality with every song. But then maybe I'm just being stupid and not realizing you're talking genre-wise.. this is much better.
    BTAM is NOT better than Shads. lol, Deathcore has no right being the best Metal, it's crappy wanna be metalcore that wants to be Death Metal.
    bdof
    Glad to after almost 3 days this album is getting the attention it deserves. When it came out the same day as Megadeath's Endgame I knew I wouldn't see much for awhile.
    jfahn12
    sXe170 : BTAM is NOT better than Shads. lol, Deathcore has no right being the best Metal, it's crappy wanna be metalcore that wants to be Death Metal. BTBAM might be the best band around today. they are beyond 'generes' because they incorporate so many different genere's into their music. anyone who says btbam is "wanna-be" has not properly listened. Colors is pure genius... and the new album comes out soon i cant ****ing wait
    Dakkstar
    TheEsupremacy wrote: This band is criminally underrated. I can't for the life of me understand why either. If you can't appreciate Retribution then you're just NOT a fan of metal. Period. The musicianship displayed on it are top notch as is the production. Shame on you haters/posers. Resume playing your new Def Leppard cd.
    I wouldn't say underrated. There was a span of time when all I would hear about it Shadow's Fall, sure Trivium would be on covers of magazines, but I wouldn't hear people talking about them. I don't care for this band, but I don't care for much modern metal. I think Killswitch Engage is just over rated, which helps them shadow fellow metalcore guys.....
    Dakkstar
    iowaguitarshred wrote: Hellfire_85 wrote: just another mtv band now, not surprised.... metalcore really has been sucked dry Are you ****ing retarded? Seriously? Are you putting Shadows Fall in the same category as Taylor Swift, Green Day, Panic at the Disco, etc? I'm sorry, but anybody who says ANY metal band is mainstream are ****ing stupid and I'm sick of hearing it. It might have been a valid point like 10 years ago when most people listened to metal, but compared to other genres, metal is a dwindling genre. I havent heard one Shadows Fall song on the radio yet. I dont know ANY teenagers that listen to Shadows Fall (or metal, yes even Slipknot, for that matter). God I'm so sick of that "Yeah, they're not metal, MTV plays them" bullshit. You've probably seen them on some show, that hardly anybody watches, like headbangers ball. Yeah, in the small metal community and amongst your small group of friends , that might be a popular show, but in the general, broad music community, hardly anybody watches that ****ing show. They're too busy watching rap fueled VMA's and Lady Gaga vids to give a shit about the bands who YOU think are mainstream.
    You're very incorrect. Metal is hardly a dwindling genre... it was during the early 90's, when grunge was predominate. Also when Nu-metal emerged, because "It's just aggressive rock" was the arguement. Sure Rap is the dominate thing going right now, but Metal is making a strong comeback. More and more people are getting into Metal. It's so much easier to find metal than it was years ago, Lots of garbage, lots of good, but there is lots.
    TisPyon
    jfahn12 wrote: sXe170 : BTAM is NOT better than Shads. lol, Deathcore has no right being the best Metal, it's crappy wanna be metalcore that wants to be Death Metal. BTBAM might be the best band around today. they are beyond 'generes' because they incorporate so many different genere's into their music. anyone who says btbam is "wanna-be" has not properly listened. Colors is pure genius... and the new album comes out soon i cant ****ing wait
    whoah there.. not sure u can go and call BTBAM Deathcore as they sound nothing like other Deathcore bands, seriously if u havent listened to Colors do yourself a favor and listen to it. i wasnt a fan before but colors was ****ing genius
    kellen.dobmeier
    jfahn12 wrote: sXe170 : BTAM is NOT better than Shads. lol, Deathcore has no right being the best Metal, it's crappy wanna be metalcore that wants to be Death Metal. BTBAM might be the best band around today. they are beyond 'generes' because they incorporate so many different genere's into their music. anyone who says btbam is "wanna-be" has not properly listened. Colors is pure genius... and the new album comes out soon i cant ****ing wait
    BtBaM is not and never will be the best band around. Absolutely not. Don't be so stupid.
    blooddebtpaid10
    I will agree this album does not top the war within. But retribution is definitely up there. 4.8/5 My favorite songs are: 1. My Demise 2. The taste of fear 3. King of Nothing 4. Dead and Gone Someone please tell me why there is no PA lable on this album. Lol. strikes me as odd with all the f-bombs.
    a drummer
    sXe170 wrote: cotton3434 wrote: sXe170 wrote: They don't seem metalcore to me. The seem like a regular heavy metal band with alot of Thrash metal, and a little death metal influence. No matter though, with this release, Best American Metal band today, hsnds down. Er.... no. Between the Buried and Me and Redemption are both infinitely better, though Redemption isn't quite as good as BTBAM (as of Colors) in maintaining song quality with every song. But then maybe I'm just being stupid and not realizing you're talking genre-wise.. this is much better. BTAM is NOT better than Shads. lol, Deathcore has no right being the best Metal, it's crappy wanna be metalcore that wants to be Death Metal.
    Dude, you're a ****ing idiot. no need to explain. I love Shads to death, but what the hell. you need to just stop listning to music.
    jacky zee
    Wasnt a massive fan of shadows fall. I am now. best album to come out this year so far
    venom08
    cotton3434 wrote: Er.... no. Between the Buried and Me and Redemption are both infinitely better, though Redemption isn't quite as good as BTBAM (as of Colors) in maintaining song quality with every song. But then maybe I'm just being stupid and not realizing you're talking genre-wise.. That said, this is pretty good. Shadows Fall were one of the first bands I got into, so it's nice to see they haven't crapped out like some others. *glares at Metallica* Best song imo is My Demise. Really creative solo work, the kind I didn't expect from this band. And yeah, definitely not what I would call metalcore - seems like they dropped that with Threads of Life, though this is much better.
    jfahn12 wrote: sXe170 : BTAM is NOT better than Shads. lol, Deathcore has no right being the best Metal, it's crappy wanna be metalcore that wants to be Death Metal. BTBAM might be the best band around today. they are beyond 'generes' because they incorporate so many different genere's into their music. anyone who says btbam is "wanna-be" has not properly listened. Colors is pure genius... and the new album comes out soon i cant ****ing wait
    I didn't like colors though i may give it another shot. BTW Retribution is great album. Jon is still ****ing amazing
    Eurasian_C
    sXe170 wrote: cotton3434 wrote: sXe170 wrote: They don't seem metalcore to me. The seem like a regular heavy metal band with alot of Thrash metal, and a little death metal influence. No matter though, with this release, Best American Metal band today, hsnds down. Er.... no. Between the Buried and Me and Redemption are both infinitely better, though Redemption isn't quite as good as BTBAM (as of Colors) in maintaining song quality with every song. But then maybe I'm just being stupid and not realizing you're talking genre-wise.. this is much better. BTAM is NOT better than Shads. lol, Deathcore has no right being the best Metal, it's crappy wanna be metalcore that wants to be Death Metal.
    Okay, 1) BTBAM is not Deathcore in the slightest bit, nor are they your by-the-numbers metalcore band. They mess around with all different styles of music, making them one of the metal scene's most unique bands. 2)I'm a bigger fan of Shadows Fall than BTBAM and I even think BTBAM is better than Shadows Fall lmao
    machinehead77
    Fender700 wrote: Lohnanmilitia : I must be the only person that thinks this album is pretty terrible. Granted i wouldnt really call myself a shadows fall fan, but i can appreciate music when its good, and this is not. Generic poppy metalcore. I definately wouldnt put this band up there with Killswitch. Yes the guitars and drums have their moments, but other than that, its a very forgettable album in my opinion well If this is "generic poppy metalcore", Killswitch and ATR must be also. Shads came before both of these bands and have survived the over-saturated metal scene. I think these guys are a very overlooked and underappreciated. cant wait to hear the new album.
    +1 dont get me wrong i love all of the mentioned bands, but shadows fall is the least generic sounding of the 3. that aside, this album is ****ing amazing. any fellow guitar player would no doubt agree. Jon Donais has reached a new level
    machinehead77
    kellen.dobmeier wrote: Shabalaba wrote: kellen.dobmeier wrote: HagstromSpeed wrote: sXe170 wrote: They don't seem metalcore to me. The seem like a regular heavy metal band with alot of Thrash metal, and a little death metal influence. No matter though, with this release, Best American Metal band today, hsnds down. Exactly, its not "metalcore" at all, listen to the album people, its extremely riff oriented with many thrashier parts placed throughout. Its called METAL, so shut it and quit labeling $hit in your cute genres All the subgenres are necessary dude. Try telling a true metalhead that Suicide Silence is metal and they'll rip your argument apart. Shadows Fall is thrash with a touch of metalcore. Just a touch. They're an excellent band nonetheless. That is exactly why there are sub genres, because elitist metalheads won't listen to something because it has an element they don't like so they label it "core". They don't want to taint their 'pure' metal with certain bands. No, we label bands like Suicide Silence Deathcore because they have more metalcore elements than death metal elements and because they're a remarkably shitty band.
    +100000 thank you thank you thank you. im tired of hearing about suicide slice-my-wrists and btbam
    d-340
    Next to Sepultura, Shadows Fall is my all time fav band. For me, Of One Blood is probably my all time fav from them, but Retribution is right up there. Way to bounce back from the Atlantic fiasco. And to those babbling about Suicide Silence and BTBAM, those both suck. Horribly. They need to stop existing, end of story.
    SilverSpurs616
    I agree with (mostly) everything said above. A fine album, can't quite beat The War Within (but then, I'd like to see ANY band top that!) Fav tracks- My Demise, Picture Perfect and Still I Rise! Great to hear more harmonies from Matt vocals
    kellen.dobmeier
    Shabalaba wrote: kellen.dobmeier wrote: HagstromSpeed wrote: sXe170 wrote: They don't seem metalcore to me. The seem like a regular heavy metal band with alot of Thrash metal, and a little death metal influence. No matter though, with this release, Best American Metal band today, hsnds down. Exactly, its not "metalcore" at all, listen to the album people, its extremely riff oriented with many thrashier parts placed throughout. Its called METAL, so shut it and quit labeling $hit in your cute genres All the subgenres are necessary dude. Try telling a true metalhead that Suicide Silence is metal and they'll rip your argument apart. Shadows Fall is thrash with a touch of metalcore. Just a touch. They're an excellent band nonetheless. That is exactly why there are sub genres, because elitist metalheads won't listen to something because it has an element they don't like so they label it "core". They don't want to taint their 'pure' metal with certain bands.
    No, we label bands like Suicide Silence Deathcore because they have more metalcore elements than death metal elements and because they're a remarkably shitty band.
    SEALSniper1152
    "younger James Hetfield..." lofty words, I don't think I've ever heard James scream like Brian though, and I've herd a lot of James.
    bdof
    Great album, all-round not as good as War Within but that's hard to top. All the songs are pretty damn good with a great balance of power, speed, melody and songwriting. I hear the influence of other modern day bands like ATR and Killswitch Engaged a little but with their own crushing style still in tact. Great album
    metalb0y
    Great album. This band has been very consistent. I know most people disliked Threads of Life but i really enjoyed the album.
    Hellfire_85
    just another mtv band now, not surprised.... metalcore really has been sucked dry
    Eurasian_C
    I've always been a mild fan of this band and I turned a little bit after the release of "Threads of Life"; to me that was definitely their weakest release. However this album is ****ing awesome and Shadows Fall makes a return to their roots while incorporating new stuff as well. Great album!
    AstheticsOfHate
    Ever since Shadows Fall hit the scene, they have always been over locked and underestimated, honestly i don't see how this band isn't co-headlining with bands like Lamb of God and Killswitch. The album is absolutely amazing, it's probably my 3rd favourite, with The art of balance at #1 and war within at #2. My Demise will be one of my favourite songs until the day i day.
    TheEsupremacy
    This band is criminally underrated. I can't for the life of me understand why either. If you can't appreciate Retribution then you're just NOT a fan of metal. Period. The musicianship displayed on it are top notch as is the production. Shame on you haters/posers. Resume playing your new Def Leppard cd.
    Paramecium302
    Pretty good, I'm not gunna lie Brian Fairs vocals get old to me after a while, but damnit, Jon once again proves himself to be the best guitarist of the "big three". One of them in terms of soloing I guess is what I mean. Regardless, pretty cool album (especially the fast stuff) but still not quite War Within.
    maximumrocker
    AstheticsOfHate wrote: My Demise will be one of my favourite songs until the day i day.
    yes day i day lol tho i get what u mean
    xXChimairaXx
    Fender700 wrote: Lohnanmilitia : I must be the only person that thinks this album is pretty terrible. Granted i wouldnt really call myself a shadows fall fan, but i can appreciate music when its good, and this is not. Generic poppy metalcore. I definately wouldnt put this band up there with Killswitch. Yes the guitars and drums have their moments, but other than that, its a very forgettable album in my opinion well If this is "generic poppy metalcore", Killswitch and ATR must be also. Shads came before both of these bands and have survived the over-saturated metal scene. I think these guys are a very overlooked and underappreciated. cant wait to hear the new album.
    I completely agree. There's talent in those big metalcore bands that have been around for a while, it's just the million stupid copycats that spawned out of the metalcore explosion that have made us hate it so much.
    sXe170
    They don't seem metalcore to me. The seem like a regular heavy metal band with alot of Thrash metal, and a little death metal influence. No matter though, with this release, Best American Metal band today, hsnds down.
    HagstromSpeed
    sXe170 wrote: They don't seem metalcore to me. The seem like a regular heavy metal band with alot of Thrash metal, and a little death metal influence. No matter though, with this release, Best American Metal band today, hsnds down.
    Exactly, its not "metalcore" at all, listen to the album people, its extremely riff oriented with many thrashier parts placed throughout. Its called METAL, so shut it and quit labeling $hit in your cute genres
    kellen.dobmeier
    Lohnanmilitia wrote: I must be the only person that thinks this album is pretty terrible. Granted i wouldnt really call myself a shadows fall fan, but i can appreciate music when its good, and this is not. Generic poppy metalcore. I definately wouldnt put this band up there with Killswitch. Yes the guitars and drums have their moments, but other than that, its a very forgettable album in my opinion.
    Your point was valid until you said Killswitch was better than Shadows Fall. That may have been possible with Jesse Leach as vocalist but as a band, Killswitch has faltered since Howard Jones started doing vocals. Don't get me wrong, I love Rose of Sharyn just as much as the next guy, but I don't even know why I bothered with their latest album. It's just the same thing as "As Daylight Dies" and "The End of Heartache."
    kellen.dobmeier
    iowaguitarshred wrote: Hellfire_85 wrote: just another mtv band now, not surprised.... metalcore really has been sucked dry Are you ****ing retarded? Seriously? Are you putting Shadows Fall in the same category as Taylor Swift, Green Day, Panic at the Disco, etc? I'm sorry, but anybody who says ANY metal band is mainstream are ****ing stupid and I'm sick of hearing it. It might have been a valid point like 10 years ago when most people listened to metal, but compared to other genres, metal is a dwindling genre. I havent heard one Shadows Fall song on the radio yet. I dont know ANY teenagers that listen to Shadows Fall (or metal, yes even Slipknot, for that matter). God I'm so sick of that "Yeah, they're not metal, MTV plays them" bullshit. You've probably seen them on some show, that hardly anybody watches, like headbangers ball. Yeah, in the small metal community and amongst your small group of friends , that might be a popular show, but in the general, broad music community, hardly anybody watches that ****ing show. They're too busy watching rap fueled VMA's and Lady Gaga vids to give a shit about the bands who YOU think are mainstream.
    I wouldn't have thrown Taylor Swift in there. As much as I hate to admit it, she is exceptionally talented. One of the few country artists who writes everything she records. Better artists such as Eric Church and Justin Moore do the same thing but she's 19 and has alarming potential. Don't lump here in with Green Day. They're the shittiest band of all time.
    kellen.dobmeier
    HagstromSpeed wrote: sXe170 wrote: They don't seem metalcore to me. The seem like a regular heavy metal band with alot of Thrash metal, and a little death metal influence. No matter though, with this release, Best American Metal band today, hsnds down. Exactly, its not "metalcore" at all, listen to the album people, its extremely riff oriented with many thrashier parts placed throughout. Its called METAL, so shut it and quit labeling $hit in your cute genres
    All the subgenres are necessary dude. Try telling a true metalhead that Suicide Silence is metal and they'll rip your argument apart. Shadows Fall is thrash with a touch of metalcore. Just a touch. They're an excellent band nonetheless.
    Shabalaba
    Why someone would feel the need to add "core" to a genre I don't know, the fact that someone would even need to be THAT specific about something is a bit silly really. Fur TV had a episode which summed it up well, where they came up with something like "Vegetarian Industrial Post Metal Grindcore" or something along those lines, which made me laugh because people do actually come up with stupid sub-genres. That being said these are a big favourite of mine, the last CD was pretty brilliant & The War Within was also another favourite of mine, will pick this up asap.
    Shabalaba
    kellen.dobmeier wrote: HagstromSpeed wrote: sXe170 wrote: They don't seem metalcore to me. The seem like a regular heavy metal band with alot of Thrash metal, and a little death metal influence. No matter though, with this release, Best American Metal band today, hsnds down. Exactly, its not "metalcore" at all, listen to the album people, its extremely riff oriented with many thrashier parts placed throughout. Its called METAL, so shut it and quit labeling $hit in your cute genres All the subgenres are necessary dude. Try telling a true metalhead that Suicide Silence is metal and they'll rip your argument apart. Shadows Fall is thrash with a touch of metalcore. Just a touch. They're an excellent band nonetheless.
    That is exactly why there are sub genres, because elitist metalheads won't listen to something because it has an element they don't like so they label it "core". They don't want to taint their 'pure' metal with certain bands.
    nido
    listening to it now. I very much like their albums in this order 1.Art of Balance 2.Of one blood 3.War within 4.Retritbution 5.Threads of life
    SUICIDEXX666
    blooddebtpaid10 wrote: I will agree this album does not top the war within. But retribution is definitely up there. 4.8/5 What about Still I Rise and they did good with Bark At The Moon My favorite songs are: 1. My Demise 2. The taste of fear 3. King of Nothing 4. Dead and Gone Someone please tell me why there is no PA lable on this album. Lol. strikes me as odd with all the f-bombs.