Shinedown
Threat to Survival


1.5
very poor

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
September 19th, 2015 | 97 replies


Release Date: 09/18/2015 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Don't be a casualty, cut the cord.

There was a time when Shinedown was destined to become one of the greatest rock bands of the early 2000s. Ignore the snickering of doubters in the background; it's true. With 2003’s slow burning, southern-influenced Leave a Whisper and 2005’s ambitious rocker Us and Them, things once looked incredibly optimistic. There were no other bands out there capable of duplicating Shinedown's sound. Their darker leanings and Lynyrd Skynyrd influenced vocals separated them from less talented peers such as Staind and 3 Doors Down, placing them squarely at the pinnacle of their emo-laced, heavy rock subgenre. Those were glorious times for Brent Smith and company, but as we all know, some of the best things are short-lived. 2008 saw them in gorgeous decline with the pop-infused, platinum-selling The Sound of Madness, while four years later they failed to reproduce those results on the tepid and unnoticeable Amaryllis. It’s rather obvious, then, where expectations stood for this year’s release - aptly titled Threat to Survival. But instead of the resurgence that Shinedown so desperately needed, they’ve instead wandered in a doubly watered down, even more forgettable direction. For my fellow Shinedown diehards out there, it’s time to join together in a mournful chorus: what a shame, what a shame.

Shinedown falls short in numerous ways here, but what stands out the most is a complete lack of substance. This has never been the deepest or most thought-provoking band to begin with, but there was always a sense of underlying turmoil that lent credence to their bid for a heavy, tortured sound. Remember ‘In Memory’" Yeah, well there’s nothing like that here. Threat to Survival might be the happiest Shinedown album ever, and it’s not a style that suits them very well. Even when Smith sings about something potentially moving, it’s typically thrown into the bounciest, most annoying musical backdrop possible, which makes it impossible to take anything seriously. Take ‘State of My Head’ for instance, in which Smith attempts to craft a survivalist/beating-the-odds scenario: “Oh, our flag is tattered and my bones are shattered, but it doesn’t matter cause we’re movin’ forward.” It’s nothing new or complex, and it would have been passable had it not been followed up with the awkward stutter of a chorus, “That’s the state of my – state of my – state of my head.” To make matters worse, the passage preceding it consists of a grating “round ‘em up, round ‘em up, round ‘em up let’s go.” It’s this kind of nonsensical shit that makes one want to seek out whoever wrote the lyrics, smack them in the face, and demand an explanation. Oh, and things get much worse. ‘Black Cadillac’ takes on a country vibe and face plants, ‘It All Adds Up’ feels like a track that The Offspring tried to shield from ever seeing the light of day, and the lazy closing ballad ‘Misfits’ takes the meaning of the word “stereotypical” to a whole new level. Threat to Survival exudes desperate change, and while it does manage to shake the band loose from total stagnancy, it unfortunately throws them directly into the laughing stock.

Although Shinedown spends an inordinate amount of time futilely experimenting here, a few of their blind leaps actually manage to stick a graceful landing. ‘Cut the Cord’ is by far the best song, and it could even make a case as one of the band’s stronger tracks in general. Despite being a full-throttle head banger, it commences with a slithering, middle-eastern vibe and a children’s choir (which miraculously doesn’t sound too out of place) before exploding into Brent Smith’s powerful vocals. The song blends Shinedown’s more recent pop leanings with their early-career temperament, a brilliant combination that would have served Threat to Survival well in larger and more frequent doses. We see a little bit of this again in the eerie “Oblivion”, a track that opens with desolate pianos and ghastly humming before transforming into a riff-heavy southern rock song. Unfortunately though, two songs an album does not make – and the remainder of Threat to Survival doesn’t provide enough support to prop these tracks up as anything more than anomalies.

Threat to Survival shows us a band that is quickly fading but refuses to admit defeat. On the one hand, you have to admire their persistence. The flipside to that, however, is that we’re forced to watch them struggle through the roughest patch of their entire career. The melodies just aren’t flowing and the choruses are rarely memorable. The instrumentation is lacking to say the least, and their brand new ideas are questionable at best. There’s absolutely no lyrical, emotional, or musical substance. Shinedown is currently a shell of their former selves, desperately grasping at straws in hopes of finding a new path. For the band, it may be a necessary phase to endure if they are ever to become relevant again. For you and I however, there’s very little reason to even bother with this. Don't be a casualty, cut the cord.



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user ratings (196)
Chart.
2.3
average
other reviews of this album
E0CDragon (4)
Shinedown make a complete departure from their previous sound and it completely pays off....

TristarRules2001 (2.5)
Shinedown's deterioration is starting to show...



Comments:Add a Comment 
Willie
Moderator
September 19th 2015


17611 Comments


The new Shinedown sucks???? Say it isn't so!

SowingSeason
Moderator
September 19th 2015


28737 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Trying to shake off the rust here.



And yeah Willie, shocking ain't it?

Digging: Exit North - Book of Romance and Dust

Snake.
September 19th 2015


21134 Comments


but really why is this band still making music

Digging: Space Camp - Inevitable Demise

RadicalEd
September 19th 2015


9405 Comments


Wow sowing. Your most negative review in years.

"There was a time when Shinedown was destined to become one of the greatest rock bands of the millennium."

No.

Digging: KOAN Sound - Polychrome

adr
September 19th 2015


12000 Comments


is that a real quote lmao

dmp3131
September 19th 2015


1317 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Breaks my heart to see my favorite band craft a disappointing and seemingly abysmal album. Will still listen and try to have an open mind. But there isn't a lot of hope, sadly.



Great review Sowing, sad to see this is so underwhelming.

SharkTooth
September 19th 2015


13855 Comments


and to think that you were looking forward to this one

Tunaboy45
September 19th 2015


16609 Comments


Worst album cover of the year for sure.

Tunaboy45
September 19th 2015


16609 Comments


Great review Sowing, mind pos.

MyNameIsPencil
September 19th 2015


5287 Comments


Pos-worthy review for a shit tier band

SharkTooth
September 19th 2015


13855 Comments


"Worst album cover of the year for sure."


http://cdn.albumoftheyear.org/album/thumbs/2015/40080-miley-cyrus-her-dead-petz.jpg




Toondude10
September 19th 2015


13468 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I didn't think this was awful but it is pretty bad, maybe three songs on here that I didn't mind.

Digging: Lovebites - Clockwork Immortality

skeames1214
September 19th 2015


3179 Comments


'A slithering, middle eastern vibe'

Dj level mixed metaphors lol.

Tunaboy45
September 19th 2015


16609 Comments


Cut The Cord isn't awful but the lyrics certainly aren't anything to write home about.

SowingSeason
Moderator
September 19th 2015


28737 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Cut the Cord is the only reason I had hope for this.



I rolled my eyes more than I should have while listening to this album. So many "wtf, seriously?" moments of incredibly bad lyrics and dull/recycled musical cliches.

Gyromania
September 19th 2015


26136 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

OWNED!



Enjoyable review, funny to read such a scathing writeup from you.



Shame about the album, I still love the sound of madness

Lord(e)Po)))ts
September 19th 2015


39898 Comments


this alternative hard rock band is just a little too hard for sowing

SowingSeason
Moderator
September 19th 2015


28737 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

That's definitely it

Tunaboy45
September 19th 2015


16609 Comments


It doesn't get much harder than Shinedown

E0CDragon
September 19th 2015


22 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Personally I have to disagree here. A lot of these tracks really stick out in my head in a good way. I've been humming "Black Cadillac" since it was released and I'll be damned if "Dangerous" isn't one of the most catchy and incredibly enjoyable tracks the band has released.





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