Sound — 10
Anyone who thought Shadows Fall would go more mainstream on their major label debut will be mistaken after hearing Threads of Life. The sound of this album is very heavy and high-energy along with being well produced. Of course, the power ballad "Another Hero Lost" is a track that may cause some fans to cry sell-out. When I myself first heard the acoustic opening of the song I was praying it was an instrumental. Shadows Fall has flirted with ballads before, but never one this soft. However, after hearing the song all the way through I was convinced, thanks to the lead work of Jon Donais, that it is a good change of pace and a great song on the album. Donais' leads on this album are definately the highlight on Threads of Life.
Lyrics — 8
Brian Fair does a lot of actual singing on this album. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of the screams we all know and love, but more clean style vocals. This is most evident on "Another Hero Lost," which I reacted to the same way as when I heard James Hetfield's vocals on "Nothing Else Matters" for the first time. I was frightened at first but then surprised at how good his "clean" voice sounds. Brian and Matt's clean vocals are good because they add another dimension to the sound of the band. Let's face it, some metal bands get a little boring with nothing but monotone screaming vocals. The lyrics themselves are consistent with Brian Fair's lyrics on the previous albums. Mostly about internal struggles and what not. "Another Hero Lost" is about his cousin who died in Iraq and left a son behind. To tell the truth, I usually can't understand too much of what he's saying nor do I really care because I don't listen to heavy metal to be inspired lyrically.
Overall Impression — 9
I'll go out on a limb and say that this is probably one of the better metal albums you are going to see this year. I may be a little biased because I love great guitar solos in my metal but I would say this album is better than any Killswitch Engage or Lamb of God major label album. I know some will disagree with that but that's just my opinion. I know you all think "Another Hero Lost" is my favorite song on the album because that's the only one I've talked about but it's not. It's one of the better ones though. Other great ones are the first single "Redemption," which is nice and catchy yet still heavy; "Burning the Lives" and "Storm Winds" grab you by the balls and don't let go; "Final Call" wakes you up after the ballad and makes you drop your lighter and continue pumping your fist; "The Great Collapse" is another great but too short instrumental much like "Casting Shade" and "Prelude to Disaster" from Art of Balance; "Forevermore" is a great closing track with a awesome acoustic part in it. Overall, I love the heaviness of the album. I love the playing of Matt and Jon. The solos are tremendous. Great bass, drums, singing, etc. Not much I don't like. I would buy it again if it were stolen or lost. Seriously just give it a listen. If you like Shadows Fall you've probably heard it already. If you haven't heard much Shadows Fall but are interested, this may be a good place to start and where have you been?