Interview by Sara Josephine
“Power Ballads are far from dead, my friends” was one of the final statements Brian Fair, lead singer of Shadows Fall, made to the crowd at the Bottom Lounge. Shadows Fall is a refreshing mix of old school squeals and solos combined with new varieties of riffs and vocals. The band’s heaviness can hang with the best of ‘em, especially when it comes to their live shows. The live force of the band is incredible complete with Brian doing the windmill at every opportunity he can! They remind me a lot of pre-black Metallica meets Testament. And their new album, The War Within is no exception delivering raw power of metal fused with rock n’ roll.
SI: What different influences helped you create The War Within and how do these influences differ from the influences responsible for Art of Balance?
BF: Um, well a lot of our common influences the five of us share is definitely like a lot of the traditional metal bands – Maiden, Judas Priest, the other rock bands like old Aerosmith and things like that– ya know, Sabbath and shit. And on this record we definitely kinda went more the rock n’ roll vibe than say the thrash vibe that was there on Art of Balance. Art of Balance– I mean there’s a whole lot of Testament and shit goin’ on.
BF: (laughs) and there’s definitely that on the new record but I don’t think it’s as dominant. I think kinda the slower, heavier, kinda rock riffs are a little more predominant.– Which is funny because then you have a song like Eternity Within which is the thrashiest song we’ve ever done! So it is kinda back and forth. But I’d say that’s the main difference that I notice is just a little more of the rock n’ roll tip.
SI: In Those Who Cannot Speak, is there a story behind that song?
BF: Sort of. It’s just about children dealing with autism or..
SI: --That’s what I thought! that’s crazy....
BF: Yeah, It’s something I’ve dealt with with my niece and nephew who’ve had different forms and mild learning disabilities when it comes to speech– associating objects with language and things like that. And I also read a lot of Faulkner and he always seemed to have characters that kinda had that amazing poetry in there internal monologue but couldn’t speak. And that always intrigued me. The English language in general is pretty limited as far as it’s descriptive powers anyways, ya know, you’re never gonna always get your point across, but to not even be able to pull words to describe something– it’s gotta be so frustrating. And most of the time, these kids are usually very artistic and very poetic in their own way. It’s just that it’s not gonna be in the normal speech patterns and things.
SI: Right, that’s awesome.
SI: The thing that I’ve always noticed about you guys, especially on Art of Balance, because that’s the CD I know back and forth...
BF (laughs) yeah, the new one just came out.
SI: yeah, just came out so I’m still getting to know it. But all the music is at the exact same volume with your voice. Is that something that you really try to do? Because I noticed it on this album to– everything is so clear and crisp and nothing overshadows anything else.
BF Yeah, that’s one thing that Zeuss is really on top of production-wise, when we’re in the studio we want it all to have just that unified sound– you don’t want anything floating out on top. Which is weird because we mix up a lot of different vocal styles but you want them to all have the same amount of impact. We want them to all be at that same level– which is cool though because you have to find a way to make that acoustic break as powerful as the blast-beat part with screams so, yeah, it’s definitely a conscious thing.
SI So, just tell me a little more about Zeuss and why you worked with him again.
BF Zeuss has been involved since our demo days. He was good friend of ours for years– Paul was in a band with him for years before he was in Shadows Fall called Push Button Warfare which also had the old drummer for Hatebreed who played on their records and stuff so we’ve known them forever and he started recording bands with like a little 4-track and shit! And now he’s got as high tech of a studio as you could have! That’s another thing with the way technology is today, you can kinda grow your own studio in a very small space. He’s just a great producer, he gets amazing performances out of people because he really knows how to push you in that way. We’ll probably be working with Zeuss in some capacity FOREVER.
SI Cool. So is this your first time playing here [Bottom Lounge]? Because this space is great.
BF Is it? Cool. No, we’ve played a few other places like, Metro, the Vic, House of Blues, but no, we’ve never played here. It seems like it’s gonna be a fun, in-your-face kinda show! Nice and packed! That’s the way last night was in Cleveland too. It was a good time, no barricade bullshit
SI Are you guys talking to MTV2 again? Because you guys had so many videos off of Art of Balance.
BF We got one in rotation right now for power of eye and eye and we already finished the video for What Drives the Weak. Actually I just got off the phone with MTV News a minute ago, I gotta call them back. For some reason my cell phone fuckin’ WILL NOT work around here to save my life!
SI (Laughs) Yeah, it sucks in this area
BF Yeah, it’s just weird! All of us were having weird.... I would look and I have full bars, but it won’t work!
SI So why are you talking to MTV News?
BF Oh, just an interview.
Posted by Alex Zander at March 6, 2005 03:02 PM