Shinedown
Amaryllis


2.5
average

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
March 22nd, 2012 | 118 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: How about a better version of this, please?

There are actually a myriad of reasons why so many people expected Amaryllis to be a step backwards for Shinedown. One such reason was the anticipated letdown following the commercial success of The Sound of Madness. Another was the disappointing lead single ‘Bully’, which possessed little more than a forgettable hook and juvenile-sounding lyrics. Then there is the simple fact that mainstream hard-rock groups don’t have a long shelf life. While Shinedown hasn’t completely missed the mark with their fourth studio album, it is also evident that all of those concerns were justified. With Amaryllis, Shinedown has clearly regressed, and it appears that they no longer possess the knack for consistency that made their first three efforts so well-received among critics and fans alike.

Across the vast majority of the album, Shinedown appears to be making an attempt to beef up their sound. The riffs are heavier, Brent Smith’s vocals are fiercer than they’ve ever been (save the band’s debut record), and the song tempos in general lend themselves to the head-banging, fist-pumping crowds that Shinedown has become accustomed to seeing pack their arenas. But accompanying this iron-clad bid for heaviness is a sense of vacancy that undermines their entire mission. For as heavy as tracks like ‘Adrenaline’, ‘Bully’, and ‘My Name’ are, they lack the ingenuity and bottom-line amount of substance needed to make them relatable or memorable in any way, shape, or form. That’s not to say that Shinedown has ever been particularly inventive or lyrically clever, but they always found ways to remain relevant. On Amaryllis, they seem to be pushing the envelope just a little too hard. Lyrics such as “No one’s gonna cry on the very day you die, you’re a bully” and “put your hands in the air” are cringe-worthy, and their only saving grace would have been an impressive instrumental performance or extremely creative musical arrangement – we are provided with neither.

Compounding the problem is a general lack of catchiness. Even though ‘Amaryllis’, ‘Enemies’, and ‘Miracle’ are all potently infectious, most of the album falls into a muddled pool consisting of the heavy-for-the-sake-of-being-heavy (think ‘Sin With a Grin’) and the contrived air of mid-tempo ballads in which Shinedown dusts off their acoustic guitars and attempts to wow us with swelling string sections. It’s all been done before, and it has been done better by this very band. There is no way that the title track or ‘I’ll Follow You’ could live up to the bar set by ‘The Crow & the Butterfly’ or ‘Call Me’ – and it shouldn’t have to. The main dilemma is that Shinedown continuously tries to recapture the magic of The Sound of Madness’ ballads instead of going in another direction. In the end, it all feels very calculated, which is rarely a good quality when you’re talking about a band’s creativity.

In the midst of their apparently deteriorating qualities, a few things still remain rock solid. The electric guitar play of Zach Myers is excellent, and he brings a lot of deceivingly complex riffs to the table that we haven’t seen during Shinedown’s recent maturation and commercialization. His contributions alone elevate a lot of tracks that otherwise could have just as easily been performed by the Skillets and Three Days Graces of the world. The main reason that Amaryllis doesn’t completely flop though, and likely the reason that no Shinedown album ever will, is Brent Smith’s energetic vocals which explode to unthinkable heights, fall into sullen croons, and serenade us with sweeping melodies. His unbelievable range and ability to convey just about every kind of emotion imaginable is what drives this band, and as he goes Shinedown goes. In this case, Brent is once again spot on. It’s just a shame that the songwriting this time didn’t have the quality choruses to display those magnificent pipes, or the brooding emotion to bring out his dark side.

Amaryllis is an album caught in the middle, somewhere between blind ambition and a complete lack of direction. Shinedown has the raw talent to keep Amaryllis afloat, but the album is full of holes and it always appears to be on the verge of sinking. The music is just as predictable as it was on The Sound of Madness, only vapid lyrics and virtually nonexistent inspiration now plagues vast portions of their work. Fans of Shinedown will still find something to like on Amaryllis, but no matter who you are it’s hard to imagine that the brief moments of redemption are enough to elevate this album amongst their prior, far more accomplished works. As it stands, Shinedown has for the first time in their careers crafted an album that is quite plainly average.



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user ratings (218)
Chart.
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
March 21st 2012


16911 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Sleep deprivation forced me to try reviewing. Yeah, still can't sleep but hey at least there's new Shinedown for all you radio-rockers.

Digging: Low Roar - 0

NotSoFast
March 21st 2012


388 Comments


Greeeat review.

Acanthus
March 21st 2012


9545 Comments


NOOOOOOOOOOOO

I wanting this to be better than it's sounding to be; first three albums are great.

Digging: MO - No Mythologies To Follow

Gyromania
March 21st 2012


16088 Comments


Great work, Sowing.

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
March 21st 2012


28812 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

i cared about this album so hard this morning

but since then, VULNERABLE LEAKED

holy fuck

Digging: Charli XCX - Sucker

ncbest32
March 21st 2012


35 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I was very disappointed with this, Shinedown are one the few mainstream hard rock bands i like but this was a let down. But otherwise good review!

Athom
Staff Reviewer
March 21st 2012


17230 Comments


Can't stand this kind of stuff.

auberginedreams
March 22nd 2012


6076 Comments


yeah i hate cock rock.

Digging: DIR EN GREY - Arche

auberginedreams
March 22nd 2012


6076 Comments


i can't even listen to nirvana.

ThyCrossAwaits
March 22nd 2012


3065 Comments


Amaryllith

Digging: Old Man Gloom - The Ape of God I

NotSoFast
March 22nd 2012


388 Comments


Still cool album artwork.

tiesthatbind
March 22nd 2012


7380 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Pretty much agreed, I just enjoy it a bit more. The previous 3 albums are unquestionably better than this.

WeepingBanana
March 22nd 2012


10217 Comments


i never got how anyone thought this band was good. ever

iswimfast
March 22nd 2012


1346 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good review. Reads a tad better then a 2.5 but that's probably me reading too deeply.

TooLateToGoBack
March 22nd 2012


1780 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I remember loving "Cry For Help" the first time I heard it.

Haven't listened to radio rock in forever, though.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
March 22nd 2012


7464 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I couldn't find the motivation to finish listening to it yesterday. It's just so boring. The review is spot-on. Excellent write-up!

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
March 22nd 2012


22047 Comments


Yeah album's boring and they seem to be trying to appeal to their 'misunderstood' teen base too much

Digging: Andy Stott - Faith in Strangers

greg84
Staff Reviewer
March 22nd 2012


7464 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Yeah. Bully, the track and video are almost embarassing. These guys aren't going to grow up anytime soon.

zxlkho
March 22nd 2012


3472 Comments


I was really hoping this would be good. :/

omgraptors
March 22nd 2012


819 Comments


Maybe if you let it grow on you...



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