....................... ...........2003
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..... Shadow’s 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 it’s 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 Shadow’s 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 hasn’t 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 intensity..
 Interview with Brian Fair

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 … Boston?
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 style.
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 you?
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 good music.
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 ten.
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 gigantic party.
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

By Randy Cohen

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