See below for a few excerpts of a recent interview by FMBQ, with Shadows Fall frontman Brian Fair:
FMQB: The new album still sounds like SHADOWS FALL, but there's an obvious evolution as well. How have you grown as songwriters since the last record?
Brian Fair: With each record we definitely want to step forward in all three major categories of an album: songwriting, performance and production. We never want to repeat anything. It would have been pretty easy to write “The War Within Part II” and not really try and push the envelope, but we would have been totally unsatisfied. We wanted to balance all of our influences and let a little more of the old-school metal and rock shine through, and we didn't want to sound like anything else out there either. We just wanted to put out a great metal record that takes what we do to another level.
FMQB: How did working with producer Nick Raskulinecz (FOO FIGHTERS, RUSH) help you expand your horizons?
Brian Fair: With Nick, we had a really good relationship going into it. He'd been in touch with us for a few years about working together, so we knew we had someone who is a real fan of the band. When we finally got to hang out, we knew he was the perfect guy to get us to think outside of our comfort zone. Working with [producer] Zeuss through the years has been amazing, but he could almost guess what we're going to do, and we can guess what he's going to say, so it was time to stir it up a little bit. We still wanted Zeuss involved, so we had him mix the record because he understands our sound better than anyone. We had the best of both worlds. We had a new set of ears in the studio, and then someone who knew us very well to finish it off. Nick and Zeuss were in contact throughout the whole process too, discussing how things were working. It was really a whole team effort.
FMQB: Since you made the jump to a major label after being an underground band for so long, did that make you feel any added pressure to deliver on this record?
Brian Fair: No, the only pressure we feel is from ourselves to top what we did. We're never a band that's satisfied with where we're at – we always want to push it further. As far as expectations, we've exceeded every expectation we've ever had! We never expected to be at this point. So we see this as a new opportunity, and every record to us is a new starting point. All the album sales and all that shit — we'll let management and labels worry about that. They are really cool about letting us focus on the music. In fact, the main reason we ended up with Atlantic is because we approached them with a deal that we wanted that was more about artistic control and using the money specifically for certain things, whether it was for the actual recording process or for the promotion. We could have signed other deals for more up-front cash, but we wanted to know that we could do whatever we wanted to do musically. And they were really stoked. They were like, “We don't want to screw up what you do, we just want to help take it to another level.” They really didn't hear a note until it was time to hit the studio. We were like, “Here you go! This is what you're getting, and it's pretty metal.” They said, “We'd be a lot more worried if it wasn't. Then we wouldn't know what the hell to do with you guys.” They just let us write a Metal record with really no pressure.
FMQB: When you look at some of the bands on the Active Rock charts lately — MASTODON, KILLSWITCH ENGAGE, BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE — why do you think it's such a good time for Metal bands to break through on commercial radio?
Brian Fair: I think it's more about mainstream radio finally realizing that there are thousands of kids out there who are listening to this stuff. I think they had to realize that with all the availability of music, kids have more choices. Before, if it wasn't on MTV or on the radio, you didn't know about it. Whereas now there are all these other outlets that are opening a lot of doors for bands that didn't have these forums before. Now radio is realizing, “These kids are listening to this more extreme and complex music, and if we don't start giving them this outlet we're going to get burned.” I think it's just a matter of the demand causing radio stations to accept this music.
You can read the entire interview at this location.