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Shadows Fall 

With Stone Sour and Lacuna Coil. Sunday, April 1, at the House of Blues.

One of the most anticipated metal releases of 2006 will drop in early April 2007; it's Shadows Fall's debut, Threads of Life.

A flagship band for Headbanger's Ball: The Next Generation, Shadows Fall are proficient emulators of classic and modern metal. But the band has yet to establish their own sound. Set on making the best record of their 11-year career, the group delayed recording until producer Nick Raskulinecz (Stone Sour, Velvet Revolver) was available -- and the jury's still out. Threads' leadoff single, "Redemption," proves the band is nothing if not serious students of metalogy. The studied, postmodern throwdowns work their way through a checklist of everything a roving pack of heshers should do: acoustic flutters, Pantera-inspired grind riffs, neo-Maiden guitar harmonies, meticulously engineered breakdowns, and hardcore gang vocals offset by swooning melodic choruses full of affable indomitability, like "We try to seeeeize the day." There's nothing not to like, though the songs don't exactly knock your teeth loose. Their steel is pure, no doubt, but only time will tell what their hammer and anvil will bang it into.

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