|Shinedown The Sound Of Madness||Atlantic|
A lot of great things have been said about the third Shinedown album and I'm here to back that all up. This is a monster modern melodic rock album and among the best I have heard in my time reviewing the genre. Yes, the down-tuning is there and it is everything a modern rock album should be - but what great songs.|
It seems that everything has come together for the band on this, their third release and first since 2005.
I just love the energy of this record. It's in your face and it is aggressive when it needs to be, yet features several mellower tunes that allow vocalist Brent Smith to really shine.
And the production is immense. This album features one of the more impressive 'walls of sound' that I have heard and a precise mix gives it all room to breathe.
The guitars really are all over this record and while it is modern rock, the down-tuning isn't as obvious as other artists and the aggressive, yet melodic lead vocals are a particular joy to listen to.
The opening hard rocker Devour does just that, swallowing the speakers with the intense wall of sound that lifts another notch again with the punchy chorus.
Sound of Madness is another attitude laced high spirited aggression filled rocker with a great chorus and layers of additional instrumentation.
Second Chance is a monster modern rock ballad with orchestration adding to the atmosphere and a surprisingly melodic lead vocal.
It is an impressive start to the album, but what is more impressive is the fact it doesn't stop there, rather it continues track for track until the last note of the album.
Other highlights include the frantic overdrive of Cry For Help, a song simply drenched in guitars; the big hard rocking ballad The Crow & The Butterfly; the more restrained, but still energetic If You Only Knew, which is this time fuelled by a flurry of acoustic guitars.
What a Shame is a hit waiting to happen on modern rock radio; Cyanide Sweet Tooth is as intense as it gets; Call Me uses a bare lead vocal and strings to convey the emotion within.
The special edition of the album features 3 bonus tracks, all of which are high energy heavy rockers and help balance the album's slower parts out with a big finish.
In places this album reminds me of the spirit and attitude and even the delivery of Gun's classic but underrated Swagger record – just with a 2008 sound and guitar sound. Take another listen to that album and appreciate how ahead of their time Gun was.
And you know what - it's a really loud album without being one of those overbearing, badly mastered noise-fests. It really is beautifully recorded and mastered.
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