The Art of Balance

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The Art of Balance
The Art of Balance.jpg
Studio album by Shadows Fall
Released September 17, 2002
Recorded 2002 at Planet Z Studios in Hadley, Massachusetts
Genre Thrash metal, metalcore
Length 47:28
Label Century Media
Producer Chris "Zeuss" Harris
Shadows Fall chronology
Fear Will Drag You Down
(2002)Fear Will Drag You Down2002
The Art of Balance
The War Within
(2004)The War Within2004
Singles from The Art of Balance
  1. "Stepping Outside the Circle" / "Thoughts Without Words"
    Released: August 2002[1]
  2. "Destroyer of Senses"
    Released: 2003[2]
Alternative cover
Shadows Fall The Art of Balance (alternate).jpg
Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic4/5 stars[3]
Chronicles of Chaos(9/10)[4]
Punknews.org5/5 stars[5]

The Art of Balance is the third album by American heavy metal band Shadows Fall, released on September 17, 2002. The album sold over 4,500 copies the week of its release, and debuted at position 15 on the Top Independent Albums chart.[6][7]


The Art of Balance was the first studio album by the band to which the entire lineup contributed, meaning that no songs were re-recorded from older material (except for Stepping Outside the Circle, which appeared on Deadworld (EP)..[8] Matthew Bachand explained that this unity created a better band and that, "this time, instead of eight Gothenburg death metal songs, we have ballads, rock songs, thrash tunes."[9]

"Thoughts Without Words" was the album's first music video, featuring a simple band performance.[10] The follow-up, "Destroyer of Senses," had the group performing in a snowed-in building and drinking with friends.[11] "The Idiot Box" served as the basis for a final video, featuring the group's performance and backstage antics.[12] All three videos saw significant airplay on MTV2 and Fuse TV.

Lyrical themes[edit]

Thematically, the album was inspired by the quest to find a perfect "balance" between melody and aggression. Lyrically, the album revolves around the fight against spiritually destructive forces. The song "Thoughts Without Words" was influenced by Chinese Buddhism and refers to the moment where, through meditation, a person's inspiration and expression become united.

The concept behind the album, as explained by Brain Fair: "It's the idea of oneness and unity between all people and all things. It's the idea that all systems begin from the same spark and it's something we get further away from. We're all in this together."[8][9] Fair also explained that he came up with the title for the record, and it represents the "balance of melody and aggression," and the "process of trying to find that balance between the two."[6]

The song "Thoughts Without Words" is "based around meditation and yoga," and on "trying to be able to calm the mind and experience things without constantly thinking them."[6] In other words, being lost in the moment. "Destroyer of Senses" is about Fair's father's battle with alcoholism. Alcohol, or even certain experiences, can make one feel more alive ('Giver of life'), but at the same time affect the senses ('Destroyer of senses').

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics written by Brian Fair; all music composed by Shadows Fall, except "Welcome to the Machine," written and composed by Roger Waters.

1."Idle Hands"3:34
2."Thoughts Without Words"4:31
3."Destroyer of Senses"2:54
4."Casting Shade" (instrumental)2:09
5."Stepping Outside the Circle"5:14
6."The Art of Balance"4:46
7."Mystery of One Spirit"5:10
8."The Idiot Box"4:30
9."Prelude to Disaster" (instrumental)1:48
10."A Fire in Babylon"7:30
11."Welcome to the Machine" (Pink Floyd cover)5:05
Special Edition DVD
1."Video Interview" 
2."Destroyer of Senses" (Live at Club Chrome 5/31/02 and CBGB's 6/3/02) 
3."Thoughts Without Words" (Live at Club Chrome 5/31/02 and CBGB's 6/3/02) 
4."Of One Blood" (Live bootleg; recorded at Club Cyclone in Tokyo, Japan 2001) 


Shadows Fall
Additional performers
  • Jim Weeks – drums on "Welcome to the Machine"
  • Dan Egan and Chris Bartlett – gang vocals on "Stepping Outside the Circle" and "Destroyer of Senses"


  1. ^ "Shadows Fall 2-Song Sampler (Single)". Spirit of Metal. Retrieved September 18, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Shadows Fall Destroyer of Senses (Single)". Spirit of Metal. Retrieved September 18, 2014. 
  3. ^ Hinds, Andy. "The Art of Balance - Shadows Fall". Allmusic. Retrieved May 14, 2012. 
  4. ^ Magers, Adrian (April 21, 2003). "Shadows Fall - The Art of Balance". Chronicles of Chaos. Retrieved May 14, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Shadows Fall - The Art of Balance". July 1, 2003. Retrieved May 14, 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c Wright, James. "Shadows Fall: The Art of Balance". Archived from the original on February 22, 2005. Retrieved May 14, 2012. 
  7. ^ "The Art of Balance - Shadows Fall". Billboard. Retrieved May 14, 2012.
  8. ^ a b "Shadows Fall Bio". The Gauntlet. Retrieved May 14, 2012.
  9. ^ a b Sciarretto, Amy. "Shadows Fall Biography". Archived from the original on April 30, 2003. Retrieved May 14, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Shadows Fall - Thoughts Without Words (Official Video)" on YouTube. Retrieved May 14, 2012.
  11. ^ "Shadows Fall - Destroyer of Senses (Official Video)" on YouTube. Retrieved May 14, 2012.
  12. ^ "Shadows Fall - The Idiot Box (Official Video)" on YouTube. Retrieved May 14, 2012.