Shadows Fall frontman Brian Fair lives more than an hour's drive from the band's practice space in Springfield, Massachusetts, where they've been working on their forthcoming Atlantic Records debut the last six months. But he doesn't mind — after all, the practice space is also above one of New England's biggest nudie bars, Mardi Gras.
"It doesn't make it too hard to go to work," he laughed. "Us and Staind both have a practice space up there. It's amazing, too, because I'm used to Boston practice spaces, which are like $500 closets. So this is actually real spacious, and they have $12 pitchers downstairs. It's not that hard to drive an hour and a half to practice when I know what's waiting."
At this point, Fair said, Shadows Fall have "the outlines of eight or nine songs" finished. The bandmembers meet three times a week for intense writing sessions. "We're trying to overwrite," the singer said. "We were just out in Los Angeles, and we shot a video for 'In Effigy,' " off the band's final LP for Century Media, Fallout From the War. "Beyond that, we've just been writing like hermits up in the practice space."
Fallout From the War, which will be in stores Tuesday, features eight original Shadows Fall tunes and three covers: Only Living Witness' "December," Leeway's "Mark of the Squealer" and Dangerous Toys' "Teas'n, Pleas'n."
Most of the new songs were borne out of the recording sessions for 2004's The War Within. The video for "In Effigy," shot with director Zach Merck (Atreyu, Lacuna Coil), will be a straight-ahead performance clip, according to a Century Media spokesperson.
"Some of these ideas started with The War Within, and this album's being packaged as a companion piece to that, but for us, it took on a whole new life because after two years, those ideas changed so much it's ridiculous," Fair explained. "Like sometimes it was one or two riffs that were somewhere in the vault that we never got a chance to work on, and those original riffs might not have stayed the same. The vocal lines and lyrics were written this fall after [our stint on last summer's] Ozzfest. To us, it's a whole new record. One song, 'Deadworld,' goes back to the original Shadows Fall demo. It's cool to hear 10 years of progression in one song."
Fair said the album, while inspired by ideas the band was forced to abandon because of post-album touring commitments, is an LP that marks "another step forward for this band. With each record, we try to progress sonically and as songwriters. This album bridges the gap to The War Within, but for us, it stands on its own."
The singer said there had been discussions with the label about re-releasing some of the band's older material. "There was talk of remastering this and that. Someone suggested a box set. But it was like, 'Dude, we have new songs. Let's release new songs. The kids don't want to hear old sh-- again.' "
Fair's had his hands full in recent months with both Shadows Fall and the recording sessions for Overcast's forthcoming album, Reborn to Kill Again, which he finished tracking vocals for three weeks ago. Overcast, the band Fair was in with Killswitch Engage bassist Mike D'Antonio before entering the Shadows Fall fold, reunited several months ago for a handful of live gigs and to record Reborn.
"It's been a lot of fun, which normally isn't what happens in the studio. Just a bunch of old friends getting together," Fair said. "It's been a blast. We're never going to recapture that energy of a bunch of 16-year-old kids who didn't know what they were doing, so this is a total different approach to it, and it sounds f---ing monstrous, man."
As for jumping ship for the major label's often choppy waters, Fair said it's a decision he and the rest of the band had to make.
"We were friends with [the folks at Century Media] before we signed with the label, and they definitely went above and beyond what we thought an indie label could possibly do," he said. "They did offer us a great deal, but we wanted to ... see if we could take it to another level.
"It was a tough decision, but one we felt we really needed to make. We've been together 10 years, so we came with a contract and we knew exactly what we wanted. If people weren't into that initial thing, we knew we could cut them off right away. We weren't settling. We were brutally honest right at the beginning, and it stopped a lot of those dinners right away.
"These labels knew they weren't signing Britney Spears," Fair continued. "They were just getting a bunch of Ma--hole metalheads. We were just psyched to get some free pizza and beer."
The rest of the week's metal news:
Queensrÿche have remastered 1999's Q2K and will reissue it on August 29 with previously unreleased material. The band's seventh studio album marked the recording debut of guitarist Kelly Gray, who replaced original guitarist Chris DeGarmo, and included the hit "Breakdown." The reissue includes the non-album tracks "Until There Was You" and "Howl," as well as the radio edit of "Breakdown" and a live version of "Sacred Ground." ... Trivium's forthcoming album, The Crusade, will now surface October 10. Colin Richardson (Carcass, Burn the Priest) began mixing the effort this week. ... Death-metallers Job for a Cowboy have signed with Metal Blade. The band will head into the studio later this year to begin recording its debut full-length, which should be released in the spring. The band will head out on the road with From a Second Story Window, Cattle Decapitation, Misery Index and Animosity as part of the Steers & Beers Tour. That trek kicks off on June 10 in Fredericksburg, Virginia, with dates running through July 22 in Milwaukee. ...
Walls of Jericho, who are on the Ozzfest bill, recently shot a video for "A Trigger Full of Promises," which will appear on the band's fall release, With Devils Amongst Us All. The video was shot with director Dale Resteghini (Hatebreed, Fall Out Boy) inside several vacant prison cells situated in an old farm house in Pennsylvania. The location used to be an S&M video studio and is now used to shoot interrogation training films. ... The five 17-year-olds in the Streetsboro, Ohio, band Seventh Plague had just signed a deal with Metal Blade Records when they experienced their first major music-business frustration: discovering that another band had already trademarked their name. Rather than naming themselves after one of the other plagues, they changed their moniker to Forever in Terror, the name of one of their old songs. Look for their debut next year in record stores, right next to Forbidden and Foreigner. ...
Dutch death-metal act God Dethroned have entered Germany's Soundlodge Studio to commence recording their forthcoming album, The Toxic Touch, which is being eyed for release later this year. According to frontman Henri Sattler, the disc will feature "Typhoid Mary," "On Wings of Pestilence" and "Bleeding Mirrors." ... Displeased Records, which recently reissued Whiplash's Insult to Injury, have placed more classics on their release schedule. This fall, the label will put out two discs by New York '80s thrashers Toxik (World Circus and Think This) as well as the sole offering from technical thrash band Disincarnate (which featured Death guitarist James Murphy), Dreams of the Carrion Kind. The company will follow in the first half of 2007 with three reissues by San Francisco death-thrashers Sadus — Illusions, Swallowed in Black and A Vision of Misery — and two by Canadian death-metal outfit Gorguts, Considered Dead and The Erosion of Sanity. ...
The Gersch, a stoner-sludge band led by Isis sampler/guitarist Cliff Meyer, will release their self-titled album on June 20. Tracks include "Listwish," "Magnificent Desolation" and "Residue Three." Another band Meyer is in, Red Sparowes, are currently working on their sophomore album, Every Red Heart Shines Toward the Red Sun,which is tentatively scheduled for release September 19. ... This year's Gathering of the Sick 6 has been set for August 4 and August 5 at the Compound in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The bill will feature Cephalic Carnage, Beneath the Massacre, Neuraxis, Mortal Decay, Devourment, Retch, Insidious Decrepancy, Scalafrea, Cephalotripsy and Misericordiam, among others. ...
Savannah, Georgia, sludge-metal band Kylesa will soon enter the studio to record the follow-up to their 2005 debut, To Walk a Middle Course. The disc will be the first to feature dual drummers Carl McGinley and Jeff Porter, who both joined the band after the departure of Brandon Baltzley last June. Kylesa hope to finish the record in time for an October release. ... Dope will tour from June 13 through August 10 with Manntis, Bleed the Sky, New Revolution and Makeshift. Dope's fifth album, American Apathy, came out in July 2005. ... San Francisco garage trio Blue Cheer, who helped lay the foundation for metal with their 1968 album, Vincebus Eruptum, are getting ready for their North American summer tour, which starts in late July. Bay Area band Kalas, which includes ex-Sleep and High on Fire frontman Matt Pike, will open all shows. Last year, Blue Cheer toured Europe and released the disc Live Bootleg: London - Hamburg. Kalas' self-titled debut came out in April.