This is the third time I have reviewed an album by this American hard rock band from Jacksonville, Florida. The band is Shinedown. The band Shinedown has to be one of my favorite new bands of this decade right behind Alter Bridge. The two bands have toured together. What a dream concert that would be to see. The lead vocalist, Brent Smith, whose vocal range would make any rock singer want to give up and try another line of work, names his main influence with Otis Reading. The band has been noted for having had one of their songs performed on American Idol. It was performed by the only one who could do the song “I Dare You” any justice. It was none other than Chris Daughtry before he went on to fame and fortune. Since my last review two band members, bassist Brad Stewart, and guitarist Jasin Todd have left Shinedown. Drummer Barry Kerch is the only remaining original member besides Smith. The new line up includes new guitarists Nick Perri, and Zach Myers, along with new bassist Eric Bass.
Their first album “Leave A Whisper” has been my favorite until now. The new album from Shinedown is called “The Sound of Madness“. In a earlier interview vocalist Brent Smith was quoted as saying that he wanted to take some time off after the band’s tour last fall and record the heaviest record he has ever made. He believes he has done just that. In using the word “heaviest” he meant it more lyrically.
The previous lyrics were more metaphors or painting a picture of the song, but I wanted these to be more serious, darker.
After hearing the initially released single “Devour” I couldn’t wait for the album release to hear more. I have listened to this album in it’s entirety about four times now and I believe it is indeed much heavier musically and lyrically. The album rocks off my face, my hair, and both ears. The first track is the single “Devour” and hits you right between the eyes with thundering rhythm and Smith screaming:
Take it and take it and take it and take it and take it all
Take it and take it and take it until you take us all
Smash it and crash it and thrash it and trash it
You’re only toys
Devour, devour your ears is what the song does. The next track is the album title “The Sound of Madness“. The song has some great guitar work as it goes in and out of two distinct rhythms. The chorus rocks with a genuine hook in “The Sound of Madness”. The third track on the album is “Second Chance” and is a very nice ballad about family relationships and growing. The song is accompanied by an orchestra which makes for a very full sounding melody. “Cry For Help” is a nice hard rockin’ song about waiting for that last boot to fall on that person who has fed off of everyone all their life.
‘Cause when you lie like
The devil himself
No angels gonna hear your
Cry for help!
As for album highlights I would like to name the whole flippin’ album, but I won’t. I will, however, just name a few that stand out more than most. “Devour”, “Cry For Help”, “Sin With a Grin” will rock your mind as it quakes your body with the pounding drums. I believe I hear some slide guitar in the middle of it all. “What A Shame” is a great ballad about the passing of a man who lived a hard life. The song emphasizes the skillful vocal range of Brent Smith as he begs “What a shame”. “Cyanide Sweet Tooth Suicide” is another heavy rocker about a relationship that is both sweetness and poison. “Breaking Inside” is another sort of ballad that features the excellent vocals of Smith. The song is about not wanting to live in the shadows of past mistakes but being driven by the need to move on.
I don’t want to live
To waste another day
Underneath the shadow of mistakes I made
Cause I feel like I’m breaking inside
I don’t want to fall and say I lost it all
Cause baby there’s a part of me to hit the wall
Leaving pieces of me behind
And I feel like I’m breaking inside
If you are breaking inside like the song says and you want to move on, the only way I know to effectively move on is to ask for forgiveness of those past mistakes or sins. You can ask it of those who you have offended or better yet ask it of the one person who can actually forgive those offenses, Jesus Christ. He promises that if you trust Him you will no longer be breaking inside. You will be made new. Read a bible and find out about His saving grace. I would recommend starting with the book of John.
This new album by Shinedown is awesome. It is great from the first song “Devour” to the last song “Call Me”. I would recommend it to any hard rocker or head banger. It is one of the best examples of what a rock band can accomplish when they really use their God given talents. I give the album “The Sound of Madness” five out of five stars.
Please check out the great video from the song “Devour”. Rock On!!