Shadows Fall is an American heavy metal band hailing from Springfield, Massachusetts, formed around 1995. They began as a death metal band but quickly found their thrash/metalc0re sound. What Drives the Weak was probably the first track by them that made me take notice and I bought their album The War Within.
They do a great job of blending heavy and melodic sounds. You’ll hear so many influences in them, blending old sounds and vocal harmonies like those in Anthrax to blistering speed like vintage Sepultura. Brian Fair, their singer, is even an admitted Grateful Dead fanatic.
What I like about this track is the unique way it talks about numbing the panic of life. I wanted to pick up on this medicinal theme and do a poster based on a caduceus but with a syringe at its base instead of a staff. Tom Bejgrowicz, the album artist and designer, worked closely with Brain Fair on the overarching themes and concepts portrayed by the album.
Via Wikipedia: “The idea for The War Within turned to one man – any man, mind you – and the chaos and beauty that surrounds each of us here on earth. Birth, death, love, hate, riots, pollution, power, religion, nature, corruption of the mind, the soul, and so on. By simply living, we are open and susceptible to them all – to confront each of them, from within.”
Notes and acclaim:
The War Within received positive reception on its initial release. The album debuted at position no. 20 on the Billboard 200 — the band’s highest charting album. Wade Kergan of Allmusic notes that the band has grown beyond the metal-loving hardcore crowd, now having more in common with the classic thrash of Metallica. Michael Gluck of Lambgoat commented that the album “delivers itself with a fury and honoring of eighties metal guitar and vocal harmonies.” In 2005, the album was ranked number 370 in Rock Hard magazine’s book of The 500 Greatest Rock & Metal Albums of All Time.
The song “What Drives the Weak” received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Metal Performance in 2006, however the award went to Slipknot for the song “Before I Forget.” In a 2009 MetalSucks feature titled “21 Best Metal Albums of the 21st Century… So Far”, the album was listed as number 20 based on poll data from professionals in the metal industry.
This time released security
Controlled dose of tranquility
Forgetfulness washes over me
Put to rest the voices of insanity
Only the sinners remain
As another night
Becomes a yesterday
Come on! Anesthetize the panic
It is what drives the weak
You’re gone! Anesthetize the panic
Putting all uncertainties to sleep
Not an altered state of mind
But a safer place in an unsafe world
Within the nearness of death
Rapture in the skip of a heartbeat