Shadows Fall is an American Thrash Metal / Metalcore band from Springfield, Massachusetts. Their sound is characterized by aggressive metalcore and '80s metal riffing, thrash metal tempos, the unique screams of vocalist Brian Fair, and the clean vocals of rhythm guitarist Matt Bachand. They are not a very popular band by mainstream standards, but among metalheads, they are quite well-known and have had quite a history.
Originally, they were a rather generic Melodic Death Metal band. Their first album featured future All That Remains vocalist Philip Labonte, and was a far cry from the sound the band would become known for. Their second album marked the debut of vocalist Brian Fair, and was more polished than their previous album, but still featured a rather generic melodeath sound. Although the albums were not bad, quite good in fact, the band was tired of repeated comparisons to Gothenburg death metal bands and decided to find their own sound. With their 2002 album The Art of Balance, Shadows Fall had reached their full potential, developing a fresh sound that could only be called their own. The album also received critical acclaim, boosted their popularity, and is often considered their beard growth. They have since kept their signature style, and released four more studio albums; The War Within in 2004, Threads of Life in 2007, Retribution in 2009, and Fire from the Sky in 2012.
In August 2014, the band announced that they would be going on an indefinite hiatus, possibly meaning the end of the band. The reasons were many: declining show attendances and tour revenue had impacted their ability to make a living, multiple members had families that they needed to tend to, Donais had joined Anthrax and was likely going to have to leave either way, and Fair had already begun to focus more of his energy on Death Ray Vision and Overcast before he eventually moved out to the Midwest and joined Hell Night. As of 2021, they have reunited on a limited basis, though Donais' Anthrax commitments and Bittner's Overkill commitments will likely limit their ability to be anything more than a one-off and fest band.
- Jon Donais lead guitar, background vocals (1995-present)
- Matt Bachand rhythm guitar, background vocals (1995-present)
- Paul Romanko bass (1997-present)
- Brian Fair lead vocals (1999-present)
- Jason Bittner drums (2002-present)
- Damien McPherson lead vocals (19961997)
- Mark Laliberte bass guitar (19961997)
- David Germain drums (19962001)
- Philip Labonte lead vocals (19971998)
- Adam Dutkiewicz drums (1996)
- Derek Kerswill drums (20012002)
- Ed Lanouette bass guitar (2012)
- Mike Turbayne bass guitar (20132014)
- Felipe Roa lead guitar (20132014)
- Somber Eyes to the Sky (1998)
- Of One Blood (2000)
- Fear Will Drag You Down (2002) (compilation album; contains remastered versions of songs from the band's first couple albums)
- The Art of Balance (2002)
- The War Within (2004)
- Fallout from the War (2006) (complication album; consists of b-sides from their last 2 albums preceding it)
- Seeking the Way (2007) (greatest hits collection)
- Threads of Life (2007)
- Retribution (2009)
- Fire from the Sky (2012)
The band and its music provide examples of and qualify for a spot under:
- All Drummers Are Animals: Played straight with Jason.
- Cover Version: "Welcome to the Machine" by Pink Floyd, "December" by Only Living Witness, "Mark of the Squealer" by Leeway, "Bark at the Moon" by Ozzy Osbourne and "Teas'n Pleas'n" by Dangerous Toys. "Root Bound Apollo", meanwhile, was a leftover Overcast song that Fair wanted to use, though it wound up finally seeing the light of day from the latter in 2008.
- Early-Installment Weirdness: Honestly, listen to all their material prior to The Art of Balance and then listen everything on and after it. This is because Phil La Bonte had a significant amount of input on Somber Eyes to the Sky, while Of One Blood contained a bunch of Overcast leftovers that Brian Fair had sitting around and wanted to use.
- Epic Rocking:
- "Pure" and "Somber Angel" from Somber Eyes are around the 6 minute mark.
- As is "Root Bound Apollo" and "To Ashes" from Of One Blood
- "A Fire in Babylon" from ''The Art of Balance is the only song lasting 7 minutes long.
- "Final Call" off Threads of Life is 6:48
- Retribution had "My Demise", "A Public Execution", and "Dead and Gone"
- Fire from the Sky had "Blind Faith"
- Fading into the Next Song: The Path to Imminent Ruin to My Demise, on Retribution.
- Five-Man Band:
- I Am the Band: Jon Donais
- Large Ham: Lead singer, Brian Fair, and drummer, Jason Bittner. As demonstrated in the video for Bark At The Moon.
- Long-Runner Line-up: Type 1. After Jason joined in 2002, the band has not had a lineup change since. Although with lead guitarist Jon Donais officially joining Anthrax, that may change.
- New Sound Album: The Art of Balance, Fire From the Sky.
- Soprano and Gravel: With Brian providing the gravel, guitarist Jon Donais the lighter cleaner vocals. An example can be heard on ''Redemption''
- Special Guest:
- Randy Blythe doing guest vocals on "King of Nothing."
- Chris Bartlett and Dan Egen, both from All That Remains do "gang" vocals on "Destroyer of Senses" and "Stepping Outside the Circle."
- Felipe Roa (Acaro) served as a touring guitarist up towards the end, as Donais' duties with Anthrax made touring with Shadows Fall virtually impossible.
- Start My Own: Brian Fair started Death Ray Vision with Mike D'Antonio, Pete Cortese (Overcast), Zack Wells, and Colin Conway (Soul Remnants) back around 2010 as an "Overcast 2.0" of sorts, but they are now continuing without Fair and have largely shifted towards being their own band instead of a continuation of Overcast. Subverted with Matt Bachand and Act of Defiance, as the band was co-founded by Chris Broderick and Shawn Drover and Bachand didn't join until after they had technically formed.