Shinedown
The Sound Of Madness


2.5
average

Review

by Super Grover USER (32 Reviews)
May 1st, 2010 | 34 replies | 12,130 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Shinedown takes a hack at their magnum opus and goes down swinging.

4 of 4 thought this review was well written

It probably goes without saying at this point in the band’s career (nine years and counting), but Shinedown have always been a cut above their mainstream rock peers. Whether it’s been the superb vocal abilities of frontman Brent Smith and or the band’s refusal to limit themselves to the generic formulas of radio rock, they have consistently found a way to produce solid music, and that alone is commendable. Tasteful may be the right word to describe the band’s approach. Even the most melodramatic parts of Leave a Whisper were kept in check, and Us and Them played well into this artsy vibe. Where their contemporaries would attempt to go over the top, Shinedown would play their hand slowly and skillfully, as evidenced last by the impressively mature seven-minute trip of “Lady So Divine” and the emotional lace that the band put even on their most radio-ready songs. When Smith commented that on Madness the band wanted to go “over the top, literally above and beyond what a human being thinks they're capable of recording,” it seemed tantalizing, yes, but also an uncharacteristic approach for the Jacksonville quartet.

Judging on musicianship and production alone, The Sound of Madness is in another league than its predecessors. On the opening, foot-stomping combo of lead single “Devour” and the title track, serpentine riffs put an exclamation mark on easily the heaviest one-two punch the band has ever packed. The immediate effect is startling, but the simplicity of the tracks makes them wear off far too easily. Although the musicianship behind Smith has stepped up to his level for really the first time in the band’s career, his vocal performance surprisingly deviates from his typical smooth approach, channeling more of a David Draiman than a Chris Cornell.

The album, like its two leadoff cuts, also suffers from simplicity of sorts. Mega-single “Second Chance” begins an awkwardly evident divide between the heavy and soft, with the latter taking the prize as far as quality is concerned. Sweeping ballad “The Crow & the Butterfly” single-handedly redeems a lackluster first half of the record, while “If You Only Knew” works well enough on similar radio-friendly grounds. Madness does settle into a bit of a grove by the end of the record, alternating skillfully between two of its more powerful moments in the chorus of the pure headbanger ‘Sin With a Grin” and the bridge of “What a Shame,” an ode to Smith’s uncle in which he finally shows off his considerable pipes, but it can’t overcome its initial ineptitude, and to be blunt, lack of knockout tracks.

It’s not that The Sound of Madness is a poor effort by Shinedown, and the band certainly can’t be knocked for lack of effort. What really holds the album down is that while they took time to perfect every riff, make every note crystal-clean, and send every ballad into an epic finish, Shinedown’s songwriting has taken a giant leap backwards. They certainly aren’t the first band to dumb down their music for a bit of added power, and it’s far too soon (and unjustified) to label them with the dreaded “sell-out” tag, but it is a wholesome disappointment from a band that had found such a niche in their previous work. While there’s nothing here that could be considered insulting, there’s not enough that rises from a rather generic wash of mainstream rock (although “Butterfly” and closer “Call Me” come close). To be blunt, it’s sad that this is the record that Shinedown will most likely be commercially remembered for when it truly doesn’t encompass who they are as a band.



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user ratings (578)
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
LG
May 1st 2010



3049 Comments


Albums the tits...this is easily their best work to date. Almost every track is pure awesome well except for, "Cyanide Sweet Tooth Suicide" can't stand that song.

Counterfeit
May 1st 2010



17819 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Like the rating.
Should I even bother checking out their other albums if I hated this?

Romulus
May 1st 2010



8371 Comments


If you hated this? Probably not, but Us and Them is a really solid album

EVedder27
May 1st 2010



6088 Comments


Great review Ryan. The singles are pretty much enough to keep my away from listening to this.

YouAreMySilence
May 1st 2010



3727 Comments


Record is really bad. The radio has played Second Chance to death, which was a lame enough song as it was.

SowingSeason
Emeritus
May 1st 2010



14506 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

blasphemy. pos'd

Ponton
Emeritus
May 1st 2010



5775 Comments


really good review rom, seriously nice work.


Digging: Mimicking Birds - Mimicking Birds

LepreCon
May 1st 2010



3544 Comments


TELL MA MAWTHA
TELL MA FAWTHA
AH DONE THA BEST AH CAAAAAAN

SowingSeason
Emeritus
May 1st 2010



14506 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Tew Maaake THEM REELEYES this is MAI LIIIFE
I howpe they understaaaaaaaaaaaaaan

tiesthatbind
May 1st 2010



7360 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Well written, Rom. I'm a fanboy for this album, but you presented the arguement well.

Pos'd.

Romulus
May 1st 2010



8371 Comments


Thanks guys, much appreciated. Especially ties cause I know how much you like this.

tiesthatbind
May 1st 2010



7360 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm a reasonable fanboy.

Still thinking of reviewing this at some point though, might do all their albums if I feel like it.

Romulus
May 1st 2010



8371 Comments


Go for the discog, I'd be interested in reading it

SowingSeason
Emeritus
May 1st 2010



14506 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

me too...even though ive been meaning to review leave a whisper on my own

JWT155
May 1st 2010



9183 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I like the album but the radio makes me want to kill myself now every time I hear one of their singles.

Digging: The Menzingers - Rented World

Metalstyles
Staff Reviewer
May 1st 2010



8221 Comments


very nice review Romulus. I don't think they've actually played any Shinedown in radio stations down here, hence why I haven't heard anything from this band.

Digging: Metsatoll - Karjajuht

tiesthatbind
May 1st 2010



7360 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This album to me is the epitomy of what mainstream music should sound like. It's undeniably radio rock, but the kind that actually deserves all the (over)playing it's gotten, no song has been ruined for me.

Romulus
May 1st 2010



8371 Comments


Styles I'm surprised you haven't heard Second Chance, that was seriously everywhere.

tiesthatbind
May 1st 2010



7360 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

A friend of mine likes Second Chance, but when I asked him if he liked Shinedown, he said "who?" What a shame that some people only know them for that song.

SowingSeason
Emeritus
May 1st 2010



14506 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

^that would piss me off beyond words



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