It’s not unusual for metal shows to start at 9:00 if you’re talking 9:00 p.m. but it was 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, July 9th, 2003 when Brian Fair, Jon Donais, Paul Romanko, Matt Bachand, and Jason Bittner aka Shadows Fall emerged onto the second stage at Ozzfest in Marysville, California and proved to me that without a doubt Nu-Metal was dead and the real metal music that I love was back with a vengeance. By that point the Shads had already been demonstrating their brand of metal to audiences in their native Western Massachusetts for eight long years but they were just emerging onto the national stage with the release of the epic album “The Art of Balance.” More details after the jump.
I’m reflecting on that early morning shred eleven years later with the sad news that the mighty Shadows Fall will be calling it quits following final tours of Europe and North America. The “Hell on Earth” tour starts this weekend and runs through September 14th in Europe with Unearth, The Acacia Strain, and War of Ages. The Shads are somewhat more vaguely promising the North America tour sometime in the next year.
According to an official statement on the Shadows Fall Facebook page, it appears real life is getting in the way.
“There are many factors that are behind this difficult decision that the band has been dealing with for some time now,” the statement reads. “In a nutshell it comes down to families, member availability, and finances. Further impacting our decision is the fact that we have two members with young children. Plain and simple, they want to be with their families to watch their kids grow. Touring full time in a band these days has never been more difficult financially. When you have to ensure the future comfort of your family, difficult decisions have to be made.”
You have to respect anyone who says he would rather watch and nurture his kids than rage in front of what has become a slowly shrinking audience of metal fans. Another big factor in this decision is that lead guitarist Jonathan Donais is now a full-time member of the legendary Anthrax.
It’s also clear this isn’t a case of band drama.
“We don’t hate each other, we’re not bitter, we in fact still have a really great time together, but the ride has slowed down and it’s time for the next chapters in our lives, whatever that may be. We can’t thank the fans that have supported Shadows Fall since the beginning enough. Without you, none of this would have been possible. For the past decade and a half, we have been able to create the music we have always wanted to hear and share it with music fans everywhere. That being said, you still may see us at a festival or two over the next few years…if they ask, we will come!”
From all of that promise that got a small group of people out of bed and to Ozzfest for a 9:00 a.m. set list through the Shadows Fall Live DVD in front of thousands at a soccer stadium in Manilla, the Shads have been a major influence, in my opinion, in making the metal world what it is today. While they will be missed, I will never tire of listening to those classic records.