The Sound of Madness



by DropTune USER (64 Reviews)
March 7th, 2018 | 11 replies

Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Radio rock is a crowded closet with many outfits. Giants like Nickelback, 3 Doors Down, and Seether dominated the airwaves. Band after band jumped in and out of the wagon. Most, like Crossfade, were a mere flash in the pan. Painfully generic songs either copied an existing band, or were catchy enough to get stuck in one’s head for a few months. The genre was a cesspool of leftovers. Countless acts couldn’t wait to melt into the scene, get their 5 minutes of fame, score a few bucks, and fade out. Puddle of Mudd, Theory of a Deadman, and countless others fade in and out of relevancy. Just when you think they’re gone, BOOM, a new single drops. Each act had the same sort of formula: they release that *one* measly single that moves people for a few months, and they skyrocket to the top. Shinedown, though, was different.

Hailing from the southern rock breeding ground of Jacksonville, the quartet bubbled under the radar with ‘45’ and ‘Fly from the Inside’ being their namesake. It wasn’t until ‘Save Me’ the band gained the necessary attention. They showed potential, which is something most of the acts previously mentioned didn’t have. Shinedown had more than novelty appeal. Many assumed they were the next “it” band, as pretentious as that is, Sound of Madness might even convince listeners. An album developed over the course of 18 months riddled in turmoil, lineup changes, and shortcomings, Brent Smith had a singular vision Sound of Madness would be not only Shinedown’s biggest album, but their *best* album.

A lot was riding on this record. Shinedown was on the verge of shattering the glass ceiling and grasping the brass ring. Smith went as far to record a rumored 60 singles in the studio. I bet readers are starting to see where the name spurred from. Clocking in under 45 minutes with a mere 11 songs, Sound of Madness boasts familiar themes of love, loss, and addiction. These rock clichés aren’t the only problems, but we’ll get to those later. ‘Devour’ is a sudden rush of adrenaline to get listeners rocking on the first note. A blaring riff, powerhouse vocals, and grooving atmosphere immerses listeners into a thrill ride. The resonating chorus relieves the tension for mere seconds before starting up again.

A good start is all Sound of Madness has to offer. We quickly learn the first 6 tracks are the entire album. Nothing changes past what we already heard. ‘Sin with a Grin’ is a rehash of ‘Devour’ and ‘Cyanide Sweet Tooth Suicide’ is a nu-metal inspired track similar to ‘Sound of Madness.’ Although ‘Cyanide…’ livens up the latter half of the album, it’s not much of a saving grace. Quite frankly, the album peaks. ‘What a Shame’ is a straightforward narrative about witnessing self-destruction. It’s a rather overlooked track and is one of the better written ballads on Sound of Madness. The bluesy atmosphere is a nice touch to stand out from the others.

‘Breaking Inside’ also experiments with a more contemporary atmosphere. The intro is light, airy, and dramatic. Although it has a generic melody, the concept of ‘Breaking Inside’ is interesting. Most songs suffer from that same criticism of having a cheap melody. The titular track is the most obvious victim, and in my opinion, the worst song on the album. ‘Call Me’ is a somber ending to an otherwise oddly paced record. Although emotional, the song doesn’t add anything ‘If You Only Knew’ didn’t already say. Both are very similar in context and further continues the redundancy of Madness.

Sound of Madness does have that big record feel Smith desired to emulate. All songs are produced well and vary in style. Madness mostly suffers from lack of originality and notoriety. Few songs are notable. Quick, think of 3 songs that aren’t ‘Devour,’ ‘Sound of Madness,’ or ‘Second Chance.’ You’re left with ‘If You Only Knew,’ maybe ‘The Crow & the Butterfly.’ The third spot is probably a tossup between any of the album tracks. As you can see, none are everlasting. Long story short, good songs that should be great songs.

Smith’s vision for Sound of Madness was a knock on wood. Shinedown achieved the success of their vision, but marginally reached the quality they hope. Although separating themselves from the nu-metal label they had, which to this day I still don’t understand, they really only achieved average radio quality music. Sure they are among the better side of radio rock, but what else is there" The album is just good. There’s nothing innately special about Sound of Madness. It’s safe to call Madness their best work so far, but Shinedown overrated themselves through numerous rereleases. That, again, raises the question as to what there is to brag about.

That isn’t to bash Madness overall. The album exhibits the effort put forth by the bands involved. Sound of Madness is far from the worst rock album ever made. It serves the purpose of giving people something to listen to when they’re bored or want something easy to rock to. I would dare say the original cut of Madness could easily rank in the top 10 of early 00’s radio rock albums. Had Shinedown not rode the album into oblivion, they might have had something special. The problem is Shinedown never evolved past the record. Sound of Madness proves all Shinedown needs is a second chance.

Standout Tracks
Second Chance
What a Shame

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Comments:Add a Comment 
March 7th 2018


Couple bangers on here ngl

March 7th 2018


Album Rating: 3.5

These guys have had an inconsistent career, but this album's actually quite good.

March 7th 2018


Album Rating: 4.0

This is a really good album. Crow and the Butterfly is the best song. Some are a bit samey but they work together well

March 7th 2018


Album Rating: 3.0

The songs work together, but they're not really good enough to stand on their own two feet. That's my main issue with the album. I enjoyed "Crow and the Butterfly," but that's to a lesser extent. I remember it being used in the Tim Burton Alice in Wonderland.

Contributing Reviewer
March 7th 2018


Coding error in your fourth paragraph.

I personally never associated Shinedown with nu-metal, so all the comments separating themselves from that sound seem a bit weird. I think some songs have metallic bits, but I would never refer to them as any kind of metal.

Good review otherwise. I actually really like this album a lot. I played the crap out of it when it first came out.

Digging: Cradle of Filth - Midian

March 7th 2018


this album has some absolute classics...

i didnt actually know shinedown was the second chance guys until recently

March 7th 2018


Album Rating: 3.0

Shinedown was once considered nu-metal prior to this album. Many labeled "Leave a Whisper" to be nu-metal. The Rock Band series went as far as to label "Boom-Lay-Boom" and many other Shinedown songs as nu-metal. I never associated them with nu-metal either, but for some reason, critics seem to find their style fitting. I felt like including that label to leave some food for thought. I can see where songs like "Sound of Madness" would fit the spectrum, but otherwise, I don't find them to be overall fitting of the label.

I think out of all Shinedown albums, this would be my personal favorite. I had trouble pinpointing a rating on this. I thought that because, in my opinion, the album dips towards the middle a 3.5 was too generous. I believe this to be a good album that should have been great. Thanks for the feedback, by the way. It's always appreciated.

March 7th 2018


Album Rating: 4.0

You could probably lump most of "2000s hard rock/radio rock" into a post-nu-metal genre a la post-grunge tbh

March 7th 2018


Album Rating: 4.5

This was the first album I ever reviewed on this site. Used to obsess over this album so it still carries heavy nostalgia.

Digging: Madeline Kenney - Perfect Shapes

March 8th 2018


Album Rating: 3.0

Nostalgia is real with the album. 'Second Chance' was the first acoustic song I learned when I was struggling to make chords. I enjoy the album and believe it to have aged well.

March 8th 2018


Album Rating: 3.5

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