Shinedown
Leave A Whisper


3.5
great

Review

by Austin USER (41 Reviews)
July 14th, 2010 | 33 replies


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Shinedown's debut was a raw and passionate hard rock album. Although it was flawed at times, it showed worlds of potential for the band.

Before all the radio hits started flowing, Shinedown began with a simple, but powerful sound here on Leave a Whisper. Although there was more of a nu-metal influence here than the pure hard rock sound of the band’s recent work, it was still a great release, especially for a debut album.

The band’s biggest asset is obviously their frontman, Brent Smith. His powerful Chris Cornell-influenced vocals are always what have set the band apart from the rest of today’s hard rock scene, and this album is no exception. This is Smith unrestrained, and he shines throughout the album, constantly belting out high notes with ease. His performance is particularly strong on the ballads; the darker tone of Lost In The Crowd and Burning Bright is well suited to his powerful, dramatic style. His strongest work here is in the famous ballad that closes the album, 45. He spins the tail of a tormented young man with a breathtaking performance. It’s a common fan favorite, and for good reason. Although it’s the biggest highlight, not once does he deliver a bad or uninspired performance on the album.

Although Smith’s vocals are truly a force to be reckoned with, the songwriting is one-dimensional at times, making the album lose a bit of its power. The simple musicianship isn’t usually a problem, but nearly every non-ballad uses the same formula: Simple, heavy riff followed by the guitars cutting out in the verses, only to return during the dramatic chorus. That isn’t to say it isn’t effective, however, as it can work just fine when Smith’s powerful vocals overcome the lack of creative musicianship from the rest of the band. In Memory has such a captivating vocal performance from Smith throughout that the formula works, and the simple but effective riffs in Fly From The Inside and Left Out compensate the catchy choruses to great effect. Unfortunately this causes weaker cuts like Better Version, Stranger Inside, and Lacerated to fall to the side, with no instrumental highlights to make up for their weaker choruses. Smith’s vocals are strong enough that no tracks on the album are truly “bad” (although Lacerated comes close), but still, more diversity would have been nice.

Crying Out is an example of the excellent results the band can get when they break away from this formula, being the heaviest song on the album. Even though the guitarwork is still not very technical, the riffing throughout the song keeps the intensity up, all while giving Smith room to display one of his strongest performances on the album. The guitar solos on Lost In The Crowd and All I Ever Wanted also add some much needed diversity to the album, and it’s a shame they weren’t used more often here.

The lyrics are also suspect throughout much of the album. There are still some tracks that have strong lyrics, like Burning Bright and 45, but too often the clichés kick in. The chorus of No More Love consists of “There’s no more love, there’s no more love, there’s no more love, for me and you” accompanied by a generic chant of “Listen to me!” Even though that sort of lyric is the exception, the monotonous angst throughout the album is another stumbling block that prevents it from reaching its full potential. Even Left Out and Lost In The Crowd, two very strong tracks, have fairly generic lyrics that, as one might guess, merely correspond to the song’s title.

However, despite its flaws, Shinedown’s debut album was a great effort that really showed their potential, with some excellent songs that still rank among the band’s best. Smith’s vocals were a breath of fresh air in the world of modern rock, and the rest of the band would show improvement on their other releases. The future was bright for this passionate young band from Florida, and they left much more than a whisper.

Top Tracks: Fly From The Inside, In Memory, Crying Out, 45



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Comments:Add a Comment 
BigHans
July 14th 2010


27192 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Your rating surprises me. Shinedown rules.

acADHDemy
July 14th 2010


1119 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

listened the shit outta this yesterday... it's my 2nd fav SD record

tiesthatbind
July 14th 2010


7382 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, this is a favorite for many, but I think they improve on the next two albums. I still love it though.

acADHDemy
July 14th 2010


1119 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

whoa whoa whoaa "Stranger Inside" a weaker cut? cmon broooooooooooo



posd

BigHans
July 14th 2010


27192 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

In Memory is arguably my fave Shinedown song, along with Burning Bright, 45, and the cover of Simple Man. Wait ,those are all on here.

tiesthatbind
July 14th 2010


7382 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I actually used to not like this at all, I think it's cause I started out with Sound of Madness. I rated this a 2.5 when I first joined. Luckily I've wisened up since then.

Romulus
July 14th 2010


8478 Comments


Some would argue.

Very nice review, Crying Out is badass

acADHDemy
July 14th 2010


1119 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i remember the hub-bub with the 45 video on mtv

Romulus
July 14th 2010


8478 Comments


I remember you telling me about that before, didn't they censor it to like I'm _________________________ and I'm __________________

tiesthatbind
July 14th 2010


7382 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, they wanted to remove the lines "down the barrel of a 45" and "ashes of another life". Pretty ridiculous.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
July 14th 2010


19343 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

very nice review as usual. i would tend to disagree with the rating you gave it, but i can't fault your logic...the riffs are pretty heavy and basic,. and they do kind of fall into the same formulatic patterns quite often. but nevertheless there is some intangible atmosphere that makes this feel like their most inspired album, and it is definitely my favorite, followed closesly by sound of madness

Digging: FKA Twigs - M3LL155X

TheSpirit
July 14th 2010


18720 Comments


I liked the Sanford remixed version of Burning Bright better than the original. I used to the play the fuck out of this CD back in middle school

Digging: Arizmenda - Within the Vacuum of Infinity...

tiesthatbind
July 14th 2010


7382 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, for what it's worth, Sowing, the fact that you and some others hold this to be their best made me make sure I was thoroughly backing up my rating and reasoning for it.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
July 14th 2010


7519 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is my favorite Shinedown release and perhaps always will be. I imply this since the band is getting more and more radio-friendly with each release.

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
July 14th 2010


23659 Comments


Good review and fair rating, pos'd.
I haven't listened to this band for ages, I saw them live a couple of years ago, they played a great gig!

Spec
July 14th 2010


28864 Comments


Good review! I was surprised, the band usually gets grouped among other mainstream rock bands and no one really gives them a chance. Shinedown and Alter Bridge is about as mainstream as i'll get.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
July 14th 2010


19343 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

i figured out what it is...i think there is just more passion in brent's voice on this album...his voice is still great, sometimes breathtakingly good, on later releases but it is missing the fire and raw emotion...maybe i'm wrong i don't know but that's how i have this at a 4.5

greg84
Staff Reviewer
July 14th 2010


7519 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

^ It's true. They really seem much more generic now rather than passionate.

AnotherBrick
July 14th 2010


9775 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

pos pos pos

witchxrapist
July 14th 2010


11062 Comments


lol anotherbrick

its so funny that you like shinedown



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