Around 2008/2009 a band from America started coming to UK shores, doing shows including an initial support slot for Disturbed before their own frequent tours, to some great reaction to fans. Turns out this band was already an arena selling act in America, and these tours were actually for their 3rd full length album ‘The Sound Of Madness’. You will have certainly heard one of their massive singles, which perhaps not as huge over here, often invade the charts in America. Yes of course I am talking about Shinedown.
For those who do not know, Shinedown fit into that category of modern arena rock bands, dominated by THAT band Nickelback.
Without going any further it has to be said that, yes, Shinedown are not a band that offer anything new whatsoever. Massive selling arena rock which you have heard before, with Metallica influenced fast paced numbers and clean and massive ballads in equal abundance. Yes you have heard it before. What separates certain bands like this from others however is a proper personality, and of course great songs, which Shinedown have in absolute abundance. Their songs are absolutely huge, instantly memorable, and will tap into your mind and stay there for a long, long time. What they have as well, which can be lacking in some of these kind of bands, is that they are genuine. You can really feel that singer Brent Smith bleeds and means every single word he says; whether he is telling you to stand up to bullies, looking out for your fellow human, or singing from a real place of despair.
‘Amaryllis’ is the bands 4th album, and the follow up to the gargantuan selling ‘Sound Of Madness’, and it is much the same, that is, songs that are absolutely huge and infectious. In my opinion, ‘Amaryllis’ is an improvement on its predecessor. The harder, faster songs have perhaps less of an edge to them; the likes of ‘Adrenaline’, ‘Enemies’ and ‘Bully’ aren’t quite as hard and without as much aggression as the likes of ‘Devour’ and ‘Sin With A Grin’ from ‘SOM’, but they are much more memorable and the choruses will be in your head from the start.
It’s the ballads where this album shows a vast improvement. Previously some of them wouldn’t quite hit the mark; ‘Crow And The Butterfly’ for example is quite hit and miss. Here the ballads are beautiful, fully heartfelt and quite simply just better. The title track, ‘I’m Not Alright’, ‘Unity’, these are songs that just cannot fail to make you feel better no matter what; whilst ‘I’ll Follow You’ has similarities to Elton John. Sometimes the mid paced songs aren’t as memorable and fall in to the background in comparison to some of the larger songs here, but in this case this a minor complaint.
This is a band whose music has touched me and helped me before (bit personal and soppy I realise), and in a time of stress once again with assignments, the new album is a truly uplifting and touching effort which puts a smile on my face every single time. Not cutting edge in the slightest, but completely truthful, catchy, and moving.