Shadows Fall. Flag bearers of the contemporary American metal scene. Their last album “The Art of Balance” set sales records for their label Century Media. So, it’s an understatement to say this album is “anticipated”. Shadows Fall is the kind of band that keeps metal alive. “The War Within” is most definitely the next great stride in the genre. Opening with a small acoustic intro, the first rush of volume comes from wicked screaming guitar solos and dual lead riffage. Shadows Fall have never been afraid of the lead guitar. It’s one of the main dynamics they use to paint their powerful breed of thrash melded with hardcore with generous nods to some of the European metal standards (felt most prominently in the dual lead guitars). Songs like “Enlightened by the Cold” and “What Drives The Weak” showcase Brian Fair’s more streamlined, cleaner vocals and the songs are all the more for it. Coupled with his commanding, harshed out bark, the vocal dynamic is superior. What the band does well is deliver a verse or two in a pummel of percussion and stuttering guitar riffs then raise the whole thing up with some big uplifting heavy chords, soar some dynamic dual lead solos in there, then crush it all down into some thick ass breakdown. Repeat and mosh as desired. A couple of years ago many were convinced the whole nu-metal scene was the death toll for heavy music in this country. Shadows Fall and their peers have saved American metal.