2007 saw Shadows Fall release their major label debut, Threads of Life, on Atlantic Records. It was a solid album that had some great tunes and showed another evolution in the band from 2004s The War Within (and its leftovers collection, Fallout from the War). I am not saying it is a better album, the newer album may have even played it a bit safe considering the new home, but there is no denying the album was filled with quality music. I am not sure what happened between the release of Threads of Life and Retribution, but the latter is being released through Everblack Industries. I hope that the change allows them to retain artistic integrity and benefits them in their endeavors.
I took me awhile to warm up to Shadows Fall after picking up Of One Blood back in the day and not particularly caring for it. Of course, I have since revisited it and like it considerably more now. Yet, it remains on the lower end of their discography. It was actually Fallout from the War that won me back over. I gave them a second chance and found a lot to like in this immensely talented quintet. From the vocals of Brian Fair to the great leads from Jonathan Donais, to the fantastic drumming from Jason Bittner, there is no shortage of skill here.
Retribution opens with a brief instrumental called "The Path to Imminent Ruin." Running a little past the one minute mark, the acoustic driven track is something new for the band. Never before have they opened with instrumental filler. Sure, there was "Pain Glass Vision" on Of One Blood, but that was more industrial noise build up to start the album. This sort of thing is nothing new, but it adds another dimension to the band. It allows Jon Donais to show off his acoustic skills, and it is pretty good piece of music, simultaneously light and ominous. It launches directly into the speed of "My Demise."