The War Within (Shadows Fall album)

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The War Within
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 21, 2004
RecordedApril–May 2004
StudioPlanet Z Studios (Hadley, Massachusetts)
GenreMetalcore, thrash metal
LabelCentury Media
ProducerChris "Zeuss" Harris, Shadows Fall
Shadows Fall chronology
The Art of Balance
The War Within
Fallout from the War
Singles from The War Within
  1. "What Drives the Weak"
    Released: March 22, 2005
  2. "Inspiration on Demand"
    Released: June 4, 2005
Professional ratings
Review scores
Chronicles of Chaos[2]
Rolling Stone
Rock Hard8.5/10[4]

The War Within is the fourth studio album by American heavy metal band Shadows Fall. The album has sold over 300,000 copies worldwide.[5] The War Within is the band's best selling album, and in 2005 made sales history on Century Media Records when it became the label's best selling album of all time.[6] To date, the album retains this status. The album was also issued as a limited edition digipak with an exclusive bonus DVD that featured bootleg concert footage along with drum and guitar lessons from members of the band. The album debuted at number 20 on the Billboard 200 during its release.[7]

Lyrical themes[edit]

The following is a quote from Tom Bejgrowicz, who worked closely with Brian Fair on the overarching themes and concepts portrayed by the album. He also designed the album artwork.

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.[8]

The track "Those Who Cannot Speak" is dedicated to Brian Fair's autistic niece and nephew. Fair explained in an interview:

It's something I've dealt with my niece and nephew who've had different forms and mild learning disabilities when it comes to speech – associating objects with language and things like that. And I also read a lot of Faulkner and he always seemed to have characters that kinda had that amazing poetry in their internal monologue but couldn't speak. And that always intrigued me.[9]

Critical reception[edit]

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 noted that the album had "more in common now with the classic thrash of Metallica than the metal-tinged hardcore of Coalesce."[1] Michael Gluck of Lambgoat commented that the album "delivers itself with a fury and honoring of eighties metal guitar and vocal harmonies."[3] In 2005, the album was ranked number 370 in Rock Hard magazine's book The 500 Greatest Rock & Metal Albums of All Time.[10]

The song "What Drives the Weak" received a Grammy Award nomination for the 48th Annual Grammy Awards Best Metal Performance in 2006, however the award went to Slipknot for the song "Before I Forget."[11][12] 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.[13] The editors wrote, "The Art of Balance, their third album, was solid, but The War Within was where they really hit their stride. The dual guitars of Donais and Bachand spotlighted great solos and dual harmonies that could be appreciated by both Anthrax fans and pentatonic sweep enthusiasts."

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics are written by Brian Fair; all music is composed by Shadows Fall

1."The Light That Blinds"4:58
2."Enlightened by the Cold"3:02
3."Act of Contrition"3:41
4."What Drives the Weak"4:44
6."Inspiration on Demand"3:52
7."The Power of I and I"3:34
8."Ghosts of Past Failures"4:13
9."Eternity Is Within"4:08
10."Those Who Cannot Speak"5:15
Japanese edition bonus track
11."Teas'n Pleas'n" (Dangerous Toys cover)3:14
Limited edition bonus DVD
1."Stepping Outside the Circle" (bootleg fan footage compiled and edited by Zach Merck) 
2."Of One Blood" (live bootleg) 
3."A Fire in Babylon" (live bootleg) 
4."Guitar Lesson 1" (with Jon Donais & Matt Bachand) 
5."Guitar Lesson 2" (with Jon Donais & Matt Bachand) 
6."Drum Lesson" (with Jason Bittner) 


Song usage[edit]

  • The song "What Drives the Weak" was used as a track on the Projekt Revolution sampler CD given to members of the Linkin Park Underground. It is also featured on MTV2 Headbangers Ball Volume 2.
  • The cover "Teasn' Pleasn'" by Dangerous Toys on the Japanese edition of the album was subsequently released on the compilation album Fallout from the War.
  • "The Light That Blinds" is featured as a bonus track on Guitar Hero II.
  • "What Drives the Weak" and "The Power of I and I" are featured on the Final Fight: Streetwise soundtrack.
  • "The Power of I and I" is featured on the UFC Ultimate Beatdowns Vol. 1 compilation CD.

Chart positions[edit]

Year Chart Peak
2004 The Billboard 200 20[7]
2004 Top Independent Albums 1[7]
2004 Japanese Albums Chart[14] 205
Year Single Chart Position
2005 "What Drives the Weak" Mainstream Rock Tracks 38[15]
"Inspiration on Demand" 33[16]


  1. ^ a b Kergan, Wade. "The War Within – Shadows Fall". AllMusic. Retrieved May 12, 2012.
  2. ^ Kalis, Quentin (December 13, 2004). "Shadows Fall – The War Within". Chronicles of Chaos. Retrieved May 12, 2012.
  3. ^ a b Gluck, Michael (October 1, 2004). "Shadows Fall The War Within". Lambgoat. Retrieved May 12, 2012.
  4. ^ Schnädelbach, Buffo. "Rock Hard review". issue 209. Retrieved May 25, 2013.
  5. ^ "Shadows Fall: Life Lessons". Guitar World. Retrieved May 11, 2012.
  6. ^ "Shadows Fall 'The War Within' Makes Sales History". Century Media Records. Retrieved May 11, 2012.
  7. ^ a b c "The War Within – Shadows Fall". Billboard. Retrieved May 12, 2012.
  8. ^ "The Process Behind: The War Within". Blogger: Man Alive Design. Retrieved May 12, 2012.
  9. ^ Josephine, Sara (March 6, 2005). "Shadows Fall VS Chicago (Round One)". MK Magazine Interviews. Retrieved May 12, 2012.
  10. ^ Best of Rock & Metal – Die 500 stärksten Scheiben aller Zeiten (in German). Rock Hard. 2005. p. 60. ISBN 3-89880-517-4.
  11. ^ "The 48th Annual Grammys Roundup: Rock/Alternative Fields". The Recording Academy. Retrieved May 12, 2012.
  12. ^ "48th Grammy Awards – 2006". Retrieved January 1, 2008.
  13. ^ "#20: Shadows Fall – The War Within". MetalSucks. Retrieved May 12, 2012.
  14. ^ "シャドウズ・フォールのCDアルバムランキング、シャドウズ・フォールのプロフィールならオリコン芸能人事典-ORICON STYLE". Retrieved May 2, 2013.
  15. ^ "What Drives the Weak – Shadows Fall". Billboard. Retrieved May 12, 2012.
  16. ^ "Inspiration on Demand – Shadows Fall". Billboard. Retrieved May 12, 2012.