Review: Shinedown – Amaryllis

Written by: Sion Smith


Next to Nickelback (on whom my views are aired most eloquently elsewhere on this site) Shinedown are one of the most important bands in rock music today. Here’s why:

Songs.

Shinedown Amaryllis album coverThat however, would be something of an anti-climax when it comes to an album review so I shall elaborate. With the release of Amaryllis, their fourth studio album after the extremely hard to follow Sound Of Madness, Shinedown have gone on to achieve what very – and I mean very – few bands are apparently able to do. They got better.

The Sound of Madness was an extremely angry album. Fuelled seemingly by regret, aforementioned anger and feeling like they were standing alone in a self-made wilderness, it bled raw emotion from the speakers. If you could handle the messages contained therein, it was and still is a pretty damn essential piece of music to own.

From there, a lesser band would have gone down, spent forever. A lesser band would maybe have attempted to recreate the success and gone down all the same but Shinedown – as is obvious if you’re listening properly – are a stronger and far more honest band than that. Consequently, Amaryllis has seemed to be an absolute eternity in the making but it’s been time well spent.

Unlike Nickelback, who deliver exactly what you want and expect, Shinedown come from a different state of mind, delivering exactly what you need even though you didn’t know it. There are 12 tracks on this album and I challenge any man, woman or child to find a weak spot. Drop the needle anywhere and you’ll find a song that could be the first track on the album, a potential single or a song that quite plainly speaks to you with both fists holding tightly onto your shirt.

This is one mature album. This is for people who have lived and paid the price. This is for people who have big life affirming black tattoos carved into their skin, not little children who swagger about their town with pathetic tattoos done by their friends. There is nothing here for people who do not wish to partake of life. You’ll simply be unable to connect with the feelings laid out for you to share by a formidable songwriting team. The just and true part of me hopes that Amaryllis is the almighty success it should be.

The selfish part of me wants the rest of you to go to hell so it belongs only to me.

Do not underestimate this band. Do not mention them in the same breath as others who play guitars and have long hair. Assume nothing. Send everybody out of the house. Turn out the lights, turn the dial up high and drown yourself in the most heart-warming, life-affirming train-wreck you have ever experienced.

Here’s the deal… if you’ve split up from your partner and miss your kids, if your parents split up and you still don’t get it, if loved ones have died for no reason or you’ve feel like you’ve been mistreated and know you’re not the one who was wrong, Shinedown will touch your soul with an electric finger in such a way that life still seems like it’s worth getting involved with.

This album is not for pretenders. This is a soundtrack for souls barrelling their way towards the end regardless of what comes their way. Every human emotion and feeling is touched on in a way that very few bands have the ability to anymore. Would I be miles away from the truth if I were to suggest Shinedown are akin to Journey circa the Escape album, only strapped to the front of a juggernaut? No. I think that would be a pretty good assessment of the situation.

In an age in which we’re fed disposable garbage that we really can live without every single day, for Shinedown to come to the door and present an honest platter such as this restores my faith that there are still acts out there worth getting off your ass for and supporting at every available opportunity.

Do not underestimate this band. Do not mention them in the same breath as others who play guitars and have long hair. Assume nothing. Send everybody out of the house. Turn out the lights, turn the dial up high and drown yourself in the most heart-warming, life-affirming train-wreck you have ever experienced.

I think they might even be the greatest songwriters on the face of the planet right now, but I am assuming nothing and taking it as it comes.




Author: Sion Smith

My name is Sion Smith. I write about rock music, books and pop-culture – kind of like a rock n roll Nick Hornby or maybe Hank Moody with hair. Sion is pronounced as in Sean Connery/Shawn Michaels – take your pick. If you’re interested, it’s Welsh. I'm also the editor of Skin Deep, the biggest selling tattoo magazine in the UK and harbour designs on writing for Doctor Who – these two things are not related. Aside from that, I’m currently working on a TV screenplay called Fox On The Run and also contribute articles to The Void - which you know already because you're here. You can jump on the feed of my own blog at sionsmith.co.uk.

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