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Despite what people may feel about the modern metal movement of the last 10 years, there is no denying that three records shaped metal of today:
1. Killswitch Engage- Alive or Just Breathing
2. Lamb of God- As the Palaces Burn
3. And most importantly...Shadows Fall- Of One Blood
Whatever these bands have done since is irrelevant. These are the Kill 'Em All, Bonded By Blood and Hell Awaits of the 21st Century. This is an amazing metal album through and through. It reinstilled my hope in metal after its demise from 1994-1999. Quite simply, when this album came out in 2000, it was such a wonderful amalgam of music that I knew metal was going to be okay. Though the concept seems old now, one minute you heard At the Gates and Emperor, then Testament and Exodus, then Hatebreed and Snapcase, then Journey and Trixter. But the key was that it worked almost seamlessly.
The album opens with Crushing Belial, which is simply musical acrobatics times 10. A wonderful death/thrash blend with black metal and REAL breakdowns. The title track essentially lays out what Shadows Fall is and what is to come. Inviting rock elements into high speed thrash. Fleshold is them at their most hardcore, and always a crowd pleaser. To Ashes is a wonderful epic that has so many layers and various acoustic passages & dual harmony guitars. Serenity is a nice thrasher, with one of those classic intro riffs.
The only downsides are the mix, which was cleaned up with the remix, so I highly advise getting that version. Much crisper and more cohesive. Also, Montauk is not one of their best performances.
Wash away the last 9 years of metal to appreciate where this boom really began. Yes oversaturation has watered down the "genre", but it happens in all music. Amazing guitar work, versatile vocal performances, and an energy that influenced a movement.