"Amaryllis" (Atlantic; 2012)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

I've always been a fan of Shinedown. I saw them at Rock Fest in Kansas City a few years ago and they've stayed in heavy rotation on my iPod ever since. This is their fourth disc and I think they just keep getting better and better. You may have heard the track "Bully" played on select radio stations and with the follow-up single "Unity" showing their melodic side you can't deny their staying power in the hard rock arena. They've released four singles so far, the latest being "I'll Follow You." It's a softer track compared to the others. This disc starts off with the track "Adrenaline" and it's appropriately named.
The fretwork on this disc is fast and gritty. The riffs are solid and the solos bite and leave a mark. Brent's voice is all over the scale: he soars, he raps, he basically belts out the best his voice has to offer. Shinedown slow things down with the track "Miracle." It's in the same vein as "If You Only Knew" from their "The Sound of Madness" disc (2008). Zach Myers can also play a beautiful acoustic guitar and the final track "Through The Ghost" is evidence enough. Each track could be a single and I usually suggest a few of the best cuts but honestly this whole disc is great.
Shinedown: Brent Smith – vocals; Zach Myers – lead and rhythm guitar, backing vocals; Barry Kerch – drums, percussion; Eric Bass – bass, piano, backing vocals.
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"Leave a Whisper" (Atlantic; 2003)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

When listening to Shinedown you have to take into account that their lead singer harmonizes like Layne Staley, belts it out like Glen Danzig and powers it up like Aaron Lewis from Staind. Once you get past that, you can listen with an open mind. Brent Smith has a powerful voice that can take the place of a ripping guitar (not that a six octave vocal range can replace a six string guitar) but he’s got a voice made for hard rock.

The song “Fly From The Inside” blew me away; I didn’t know anything about these guys so when this song hit my ears I turned it up until I heard ringing. I may have to start communicating via a TTY some day. The guitar is down-tuned and it creeps along during the slow tracks. The solos are short but worth an air guitar imitation and your best heavy metal face.

"Leave a Whisper" may also have a little Saliva in it. I guess the longer music is around the harder it becomes to not sound like someone else. We all want to be like the cool uncle. I’m not bashing anyone who plays music that sounds like someone else's. It’s all recycled anyway. 

Shinedown will fill a void for those who like their rock with great vocals and pounding drums slotted with nasty guitar. This band is also awesome live: I saw them at Rock Fest in KC, MO a few years ago and they loosed the ground beneath me.

The best vocal chord busters here are “Fly From The Inside,” “Left Out,” “Lost In The Crowd,” “No More Love,” and “Better Version.”

Shinedown: Brent Smith – vocals; Jasin Todd - guitar; Brad Steward – bass; Barry Kerch – drums.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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