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Review – Shinedown "The Sound of Madness" (2008) June 22, 2008

Posted by rawkfistmusic in 2008, Shinedown.

Written by Andrew “Gravity” H.

Hard rockers out of Jacksonville, Shinedown first left their mark on the airwaves with their 2003 debut Leave A Whisper, an album acclaimed for a fresh sound and more than a handful of catchy rock anthems. Vocalist Brent Smith established himself as a unique and powerful voice on songs such as the smash hit “45” and “Fly From The Inside.” Since that year, Shinedown has flooded rock radio with an empowering cover of Lynard Skynard’s “Simple Man” as well as tunes from their 2005 release Us and Them “Save Me” and “I Dare You.”

While those two tracks stood out on the band’s sophomore drop, it felt like Shinedown in general dropped the ball on Us and Them. An album that primarily had a band experimenting with a new sound felt like a mixture of too many things, and it seemed as though Shinedown had conceived an album greater in scope then they could handle. With this latest release The Sound of Madness these rockers hope to better handle these new sounds.

The opening track and first single is “Devour” a maddening, political and catchy anthem for the masses. Smith once again proves he’s the perfect frontman for the band as the growl of his voice lends perfectly to the thrashing guitar-powered chorus and yet he still hits pitch-perfect high notes as the song peaks. The title track follows suit with a strong and catchy chorus once again driven by instrumental power and vocal prowess. The album begins to take it’s turn right afterward with “Second Chance” a beautifully written tune that brings with it the realization that Shinedown has turned the corner.

“Cry For Help” brings back the frantic pace of earlier tracks, and is the song perhaps most remniscent of Leave a Whisper. Soon after is the epic “The Crow and The Butterfly” which features arguably the best lyrical work on the album and features a sound so much better than anything on Us and Them and will wrap up the listener in soothing rock melody. “If You Only Knew” follows the trend with more soft, beautiful music, but speeds the pace up enough to get the album back on track with the blistering “Sin With a Grin” a fast-paced, hard rocking tune that has the catchiest chorus the band’s likely ever written.

The final four tracks wrap up the album nicely, recapturing all the vibes this fine album has already produced. “What A Shame” is a southern rock ballad at it’s very definition, and “Cyanide Sweet Tooth Suicide” brings together elements of “Devour” and “Sin With a Grin” to capture one more frantic rock jam. Following is the lyrically exquisite “Breaking Inside” and the love letter in song form “Call Me”. All four tracks keep the epic scope of the album in mind and add to the very being of this collection perfectly.

To call The Sound of Madness the best CD Shinedown has yet created is a vast understatement. It wouldn’t be too far out to call it one of the best albums to be released in recent years. Not only is this compilation hard southern rock at it’s finest, but the lyrics, musicianship and production are near unmatched and every song has it’s own fine unique qualities. The best CD of the year? I have no question about it. If this is madness, I’d love to see Shinedown go truly insane.

10 out of 10

Download This – “Sin With a Grin”



1. Anonymous - October 9, 2008

You’re fucking crazy. No wonder nobody reads this blog.

In case you were wondering, I found this site after doing a search for “second chance shinedown awful song”.

2. rawkfistmusic - April 13, 2009

If you think “Second Chance” is an awful song, you’re not really my demo anyway.

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