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Shadows Fall is upon us . If you want Heavy Metal you got it! Currently
whipping up a storm just about everywhere SHADOWS FALL are old school Metal
pumped full of METALLICA, SLAYER and TESTAMENT combined with a technical edge
that just blows most Metal bands out of the water these days. Thier new CD THE
ART OF BALANCE is indeed a well constructed, powerful, stirring album it does
have its share of spectacular songs. Stepping Outside the
Circle, Mystery of One Spirit, and Fire in
Babylon are all melodically charged speedsters that crush everything in
sight. All three are great songs. Elsewhere, the band injects a new, slow,
brooding style into the mix with the ballad-like title track. Vocalist Brian
Fair has said that this is one of his favorite songs on the disc, which is
interesting since it is such a departure for the band. Almost like a Metallica
ballad, the song is very worked out and arranged, but more importantly very
good. The song works perfectly as a new dimension to the Shadows Fall
sound, creating a nice break from the rest of the constant pounding. Also, the
band has included two short instrumental interludes, almost as intro tracks to
two of the more intense songs on the disc (Stepping Outside the
Circle and Fire in Babylon). Of course, the band hasnt
forsaken their hardcore roots either, as much of the rest of the album follows
course with OF ONE BLOOD. Overall this album is a triumph of metalized hardcore
| Interview with Brian
Q: Hi Brian so your in North Carolina are you on the
Ozzfest tour yet? A: No. Actually, OzzFest starts in Texas and we're slowly on
our way down there and playing shows to meet up with that. So we're just doing
a couple of headlining shows. We're playing Nashville tomorrow and I think
we're somewhere in Oklahoma the next day. It's a lot easier than driving
straight from Boston. Do a couple of shows along the way.
Q: Is that your home base
A: Well Massachusetts area. I live right in Boston, most of
the guys kind of live around the state.
Q: The OzzFest you must be pretty stoked about that ?
A: Totally man. We're totally stoked about this. It's the
biggest thing that we've ever been a part of. So, it'll be a whole new kind of
experience for us.
Q: And your new album is just like awesome. This "Art
of Balance," as soon I put it in, it was like URRRR.
A: Yeah. The music starts off pretty brutal.
Q: You did a nice mix of fast and slow songs.
A: Yeah. We got it mixed up there with some mellower
acoustic kind of interludes. It gives the aggressive stuff so much more of an
impact and also gives you kind of that breathing room so it has a nice flow to
it. It would give somebody kind of a head trip with 30 minutes straight, it
starts to lose it's intensity after a while. You have to kind of pull back and
then slam again.
Q: Now the cover song "Welcome to the Machine" by
Pink Floyd, that was outstanding.
A: Well thank you. It kind of surprised us to tell you the
truth. I've always been a huge Floyd fan and we got asked to do a song for a
Treat album and we didn't want to __ a song that was already kind of rock and
roll, so we picked that because it was basically a kind of a mellow, ambient
song. Kept the vocals pretty close to the original and just kind of wrote our
own riffs based on the chords and we're just so surprised how good it came out.
We just stuck it in on the end of the record. It's kind of the nice mellow way
to end it.
Q: You can really hear the quality of your voice.
A: It was fun trying to sing that kind of style. Me and Matt
did the harmonies. You know it was definitely a change of pace for us.
Q: Now "The Art of Balance," you wrote the lyrics
for this album?
A: Yes, I wrote all the lyrics except for the Floyd song.
Q: One thing I noticed about your songs, you're kind of
bringing back the old Metallica sound ?
A: Yeah. It's influence like how that band got thrashed out
when we were younger. It's kind of something that's been pushed to the
background of music recently. So, it kind of brings back that familiar song
without going retro. You know we want to always add our own twist to it, but
that definitely is where a lot of our influence lies is in that kind of school.
Q: I think a lot of people miss that sound.
A: Totally. I mean metals progressed in so many different
directions, but that's really where the foundation is that thrash metal sound
and that really aggressive style. I feel like people watered down the metal
sound a little bit, made it a little simpler, kind of got away from the speed
and focusing more on the groove and we just kind of figured let's try and do
something that's really honest for us because that's really where we came from.
A different style would have been so contrived, so we said fuck the groove,
fuck the easiest and we're going back and we're going to lay it down the old
Q: Well you hit it right on the nose. I'm from San Francisco
bay area, every time Judas Priest comes around, they totally pack that place.
Here they come again, the gods of thrash metal. You have a really excellent
band. The instrumental guys - they hit it right on.
A: Totally. Jon on lead guitar continually blows my mind.
He's the youngest one of the band as well. It's just crazy. And Jason, he
joined the band about a year and a half ago on drums and that was just the
final piece we needed - just that super rock solid drummer who is totally
schooled in all styles of metal. So that was kind of the perfect backbone. And
I think what it'll do is twist the balance to the next level. So, I'm really
stoked. I'm just the singer, so I need to surround myself with people who can
play so I don't have to feel the pressure. Q: When does the Ozz Fest start for
A: I guess the 28th is the first show in San Antonio. We
have a few more headlining shows and there's like a day of rehearsal for the Oz
Fest to figure out if you could possibly do 5 minute change-overs and learn the
whole deal how everything works and then do sound checks for the whole tour.
You've got that half hour there and then that's it. And then it starts the next
day and doesn't end for 8 weeks. It'll be great.
Q: How was the process of making the songs this time around.
A: It depends. Some songs I nitpick over like words for just
once at a time and slowly write them like a song like "Fire in
Babylon" it took a little while with some rewriting, but a song like
"Destroyer of Senses" that came out like an hour and half after
drinking a couple of bottles of wine, eating a few Zanex and getting in the
Picowsky mode and waking up with a song in my notebook. Like "Oh shit,
that was easy." You never know when it's going to come.
Q: That's funny how fluid it can be writing songs sometimes
it just come and goes
A: Yeah. Totally. You surprise yourself. You didn't even
know I had that in there. And now it's already on paper and I don't remember
writing it. But the only problems is that I will sit and obsess over a few
sentences for like weeks and probably change it at the last minute in the
studio. I never know how it's going to work. I never know how it's going to
work. I can never plan on writing. I never set aside time like okay, I need to
write some lyrics, because I would just sit there and write some bullshit I'd
throw away anyway.
Q: Well I wrote it on the toilet paper. And you go I thought
I something great and then you go Oh, where's the toilet paper?
A; Exactly. I've lost a lot of great lyrics just from
writing them on the back of napkins and the back of magazines and then just
totally forgetting them.
Q: Is this Shadows Fall third Album
A: Yeah. This is the third. The first I wasn't actually on.
It was more a demo that Matt put out himself - the original singer. I joined
right after that and put out two full lengths for Century Media, "Of One
Blood" and this one. And we'll probably start working on some new material
after the Oz Fest and try to get into the studio by the end of the year, but
you never know how that's going to work either.
Q: I talked to some bands from the OzzFest last year. When
they're not the Oz Fest, sometimes they do some little clubs around the area.
Are you going to be doing the same thing on off days?
A: Yeah. Totally. There's so many off days that we would
personally go crazy without having anything to do every day. And also
moneywise, we don't really get paid for Oz Fest, we need to go out and do the
headlining shows and we're going open to a few shows for Cradle of Filth to try
and cover the smaller markets and play some cheaper shows and actually put some
money in our pockets so we can do the tour. Cause in Oz Fest, you pay to get
on, but you hardly make any money back, so you can't afford - you have the
crew, and the boss and the gas and everything like that, we got to play the
shows wherever we can. But it's awful nice to go in the smaller venues again
after playing the stadiums of Ozz Fest. You get to drive a few hours out to a
smaller city, play a small club, with an audience that's right in your face.
That's always a nice way to get back down to ground zero. You have your little
rock star bubble shattered.
Q: That's an excellent idea though.
A: The only think that kind of sucks is sometimes that we're
going to be playing a lot in early afternoon and probably drive right after the
show eight hours to headline the next night. So, we'll play at 12 midnight and
then the next day we'll be playing at 11:00 a.m. on the Oz Fest stage. It's
going to get pretty brutal, but what can you do.
Q: Were there any particular bands that influenced you a lot
as you were learning to become a singer and musician.
A: I got into metal at a really early age just through
older brother and neighbors and stuff like that. So I started listening to
Chancellor (?) when I was five and then I got into Ozzy and then early the
Motley Crew, but from there I totally got sucked into like the punk rock
hardcore scene just through skateboarding. I was going to hardcore when I was
13 years old in Boston and just got totally blown away by that. I had never
seen anything like that. So, like a lot of the older bands like Bat Brains and
Youth of Today and Black Flack I was totally into. And that just inevitably led
to the heavier stuff - Slayer and Exodus and stuff like that. So, Iron Maiden
was a huge influence. Just all those bands. And then I've gone on to just
listen to everything from reggae to jazz fusion and anything in between to try
and find new ways to look at music. If you limit yourself too much and just put
the blinders and only listen to metal, you'll never be able to push yourself
further outside of that because you set those rules. So, I'm always looking for
Q: That's a good idea what you just said. Because that way
if you get stuck doing the same kind of momentum, you can't create.
A: Yeah, exactly. You kind of limit yourself to one school
of thought. The metal world is a wide open for style of music, but I need to
step outside every now and then and so when you do go back and listen to some
metal you hear how amazing it is. So, it makes it fun again. Especially on
tour, I don't listen to much metal outside of the club because we're playing
with metal bands every single day, so when I get back in the van afterwards
it's like throw on something without distortion, just to save your ears.
Q: That's the one thing about that - crank it up to number
A: Exactly. I can't be blasting it all day long anymore.
Your ears need a break and have time for Johnny Cash after midnight.
Q: One thing - I've been backstage interviewing the bands,
what's really fabulous is that your get to meet so many people. It's like one
A: Totally, it's like a wagon train of just rock bands. All
the buses are lined up and everyone's barbequeing and partying. And we're
stoked because we know a lot of the bands on the second stage already. Sworn
Enemies are great friends of ours as well as Hot Wire and we're ready to roll
in there with like a posse. We're going to set up our screen houses, our
barbeques and just pig over.
Q: Thanks for your time see you at the Ozzfest .
A: Definitely There's going to be some great bands. And it's
always fun to see Ozzy. Thank you -Take care
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