Review The Artist (15)
Jacksonville, Florida, has enjoyed a long and stirring rock and roll tradition. From the time the seminal guitar crunch of Lynyrd Skynyrd first put this vibrant city on the rock and roll map, J-ville has played an integral role in the on-going evolution of contemporary music. Now a young Jacksonville-based hard rock band named Shinedown appears ready, willing, and more-than-able to add another exciting chapter to their home town's noble rock history book.
As proven throughout their debut album, "LEAVE A WHISPER," vocalist Brent Smith, guitarist Jasin Todd, bassist Brad Stewart, and drummer Barry Kerch have fully absorbed influences ranging from the classic sounds of Skynyrd and Led Zeppelin to the soulful stirrings of Otis Redding to the likes of Staind and Tool - and have filtered them all through their own unique musical perspectives. The resulting musical brew is a true feast for the senses, blending bold, strident guitar power, blues-driven vocal fury, and cutting-edge metallic mayhem into a swirling cauldron of bubbling rock reactants. This is heavy music that stands head and shoulders above today's field of cookie-cutter rock practitioners.
Such songs as the powerful first single, "Fly From The Inside," the emotive "No More Love," and the overwhelming "Burning Bright" show that in the 24 year-old Smith, Shinedown sports one of the most talented singers and unconventional songwriters currently operating within a hard rock context.
Shinedown delivers their musical goods with passion, power and a perception that belies their limited time in the spotlight. "I've wanted to do this all my life," says Smith. "Making music and being in a successful band is all I ever wanted to do, but it's never been easy. Music was never a big deal in my family. My parents just didn't understand what it was really all about. They were encouraging... to a point. But I always dreamed of being given the chance to stand up in front of people and try to move them with my music. I'm incredibly thankful every day that I've now been given that chance."
Formed in early 2001 by these fast-found friends - after Smith left his previous band on the eve of landing a recording deal - it hasn't taken long for Shinedown to begin making their mark. First and foremost, there are the songs. Each one stands as a mini-drama unto itself, a full-fledged slice of rock and roll brilliance where the band's varying influences and tastes all magnificently battle with one another for prominence. "We don't like to do anything in a typical way," Smith says with a grin. "To our way of thinking, each song should be different - as far away from a formula as you can possibly get. We pride ourselves in taking some things you might think you know, and then twisting them around. We're not trying to necessarily be different - it's just the way we are. That keeps it interesting for us, and interesting for the fans as well."
Once the members of Shinedown began to fully appreciate one another's talents and fully hit their musical stride, it didn't take long for the labels to take notice. It was early in 2002 that Atlantic sealed the deal, giving the band the opportunity to turn their rock and roll dreams into reality. Shinedown soon found themselves in a Los Angeles recording studio with producer Bob Marlette (known for his work with Ozzy Osbourne, Saliva, and Black Sabbath), laying down the tracks that would eventually form the core of "LEAVE A WHISPER."
From first note to last, this is a disc that shows a band in control of the full spectrum of rock and roll ingredients. Heavy without being overbearing, insightful without sounding preachy, the music created by Shinedown is designed to send those proverbial shivers racing up and down your spine. While their approach on such tunes as "45" and "Better Version" can seem rather dark and bleak, there's always a positive thread running through the music, leaving the listener with the unmistakable feeling that this has been a musical sojourn well worth taking.
"There were so many things that we wanted to try on this album," Smith said. "We approached it in as cool and calm a manner as we could, but there's no denying that a lot of the time we were like kids in a candy store. That's how excited we were. I think a lot of that energy found its way into the music, which was our intent from the very beginning. We want each song to carry the listener on a journey, and we want to make sure the ride is as interesting as possible. The best way I can describe it is to say that this band is a celebration of being alive. We all have our problems, but if you're honest with yourself, you can draw from that darkness and turn it into something great."
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IF THEY ONLY KNEW! | Reviewer: Cj | 7/9/13
I remember the very first song that I ever heard by Shinedown, I was in the Sixth grade and had just broke up with my GF at the time. and I stumbled across Their song, "If You Only Knew" and was instantly hooked. their songs have helped me through alot of dark times in my life. I wish I could tell them how much of an impact their music has had on my life since that day, and that I'm so glad that their around and hope they stay together for a really long time!
Amazing!!! | Reviewer: Jamie | 9/23/10
I have been to 2 other concert off of the sound of madness tour but the carnival of madness tour was by far the best so far.. I am looking foward to thier next album. you can see that they do this from the bottom of their hearts. they play with so much soul. I love them because they love us, their fans!
the best | Reviewer: Whitney | 2/10/10
Brent Smith/Shinedown is by far the best band I've ever listened to. I've been a devoted fan since '05 when I saw them in Des Moines, Iowa. Each person has a story and no matter who you are, there is at least ONE Shinedown song that you can relate to. For myself, the one that stands out the most is Shed Some Light from their second album, Us and Them. As each of their albums have been released, you can hear how they've grown and devolped a sound all of their own. Brents vocals are truely magical and unique. The power and sincerety behind them are enough to make anyone a believer. I am proud to be a fan. I will be seeing them live on Friday for the 5th time. Keep up the good work, guys!
Sound of Madness | Reviewer: Len | 1/30/10
Having been into these guys for a few years now, I looked forward to their latest release The Sound of Madness. A truly Epic album with a great variety I must say and it is good to see sucha talented band getting recognition for their work. Second Chance which has been hugely successful worldwide is one of the weaker songs on the album imho... the power and passion that Brent puts into If You Only Knew and Call Me is inspiring ... This together with the heavier tunes like Devour and the title track makes this one of the must have albums. And ... best of all .. they will be finally touring Australia in Feb 2010 and ive already got tickets. All reports are that their live shows are something to behold
The best new hard rock band! | Reviewer: mike | 7/22/08
These guys are the most talented and intuitive songwriters and musicians I have heard in years. I like a lot of the new music out there these days but these guys actually have a positive message and substance. It is heavy blues based rock with a real sharp edge to it. The vocalist, Brent Smith is a breath of fresh air to any metalist. This guy can grind his voice like Hetfield but has a real resonance that you don't hear in rock much. Their appeal is so wide range, I am in my 40's and I love all kinds of the new stuff. These guys have the edge of Disturbed but not quite as dark. Thanks for making rock cool again guys!
live | Reviewer: Layla | 9/6/07
i saw them live at the cotillion in wichita. they are SO intense live. they really connect to you..especially when brent does the crazy eye thing, and then gets off the stage to walk around and get people on they're feet . these guys are so freakin awesome live and everyone should go see them asap.
they are so good | Reviewer: blake jensen | 6/9/07
it seems like there songs are just so perfect, there is few bands who can match brents vocals.
I can see this band not only getting far but getting there fast.
bravo | Reviewer: Blake Jensen | 6/11/07
I am new to this band, I listned to a few songs and I am already crazy about them they are awesome.
shinedown rocks | Reviewer: reznor | 5/22/07
i have yet to see them live, but i absolutely love them...each song has had an impact on my life...the inspiration brent gives it what keeps me going...i hope to one day see them, and possibly meet them, but these guys have been and will always be a HUGE inspiration to me...
General Overview | Reviewer: Ben | 5/22/07
I've only known Shinedown existed for a few months now, but already they're one of my favorite bands...but their first CD is the entire reason for this. I heard "Leave a Whisper" well before I ever heard anything off of "Us and Them", and while many bands outdo themselves when they release their sophomore album, Shinedown went back.
I don't know a thing about the band members personalities, ideas, or anything like that. I just know their music. And let me say, it is truely phenomenal Looking at "Leave a Whisper" first, they are easily one of, if not THE, greatest "new" rock band out there. I absolutely love the songs "No More Love" and "Better Version", just because they have lyrics and music that can really hit you anywhere you want it to. If you're trying to get pumped up, or if you just need to relax, those two deliver it both ways. "Fly From The Inside" is superbly written and played, and makes a great energizing music. "In Memory", "Burning Bright" and "Crying Out" are delivered with such power and emotion, they can bring tears to your eyes. I've not yet heard their version of "Simple Man", but it's been so long since I heard the original, I might not recognize it anyway. "45" is overhyped, in my opinion; this is, of course, taking into consideration that I don't like slower songs. Despite that, the music from that CD is absolutely fantastic.
"Us and Them" really takes a backstep. I'll admit, I've only heard a handful of the tracks from it, but most of them sound the same to me. Their are two exceptions to this; "Atmosphere", which has a solo that'll make your flesh crawl, and "Shed Some Light", which has to be good because I normally hate acoustic songs. Of the others I know, like I said, they all sound uncannily similar. I'm currently in the process of getting my hands on the CD so I can listen to it in its entirety, but for now, I stand by my word. If the songs I don't know are anything like those on "Leave a Whisper", though, I'm taking back everything I just said.
All in all, Shinedown is still a great group. They've only released two albums, and I'm sure they'll find their true style within the next few. With this much potential, let's hope they don't change up on us and fix what ain't broken.
Forever & Always | Reviewer: KC | 5/18/07
I began listening to Shinedown's "Leave A Whisper" album in 2005 and absolutely loved it. I thank my friend Nick for letting me borrow that CD! I saw them in concert with Staind and Hinder (December 2006) in Louisville, KY and they were amazing. I believe they had the best stage preformance out of the others! The "Us and Them" album did not let me down. I have become a huge fan ever since and I'd recommend them to any rocker! Shinedown just leaves me in awe.
i love this band! | Reviewer: Anonymous | 3/15/07
I can't believe the voice Brent Smith has. The background music for simple man sounds so flawless. I can't stop listening & singinng along.-Alexandra Farley
the true definition of an artist | Reviewer: liz | 4/26/06
ok both of these cd's have had such great impact on my life, each song has a meaning and a power driving behind it, the whole LAW cd is about hope and puling through, us and them is fan inspired, and each song can touch a place deep down inside your soul, i will reccomend shinedown to anyone and everyone. their music spans across several genres from metal to blues to acoustic, each song is unique and with the powerful voice of brent and the unbelievable musical talents of brad jasin and barry combined with their humble personalities, these guys will go far.
Inspiration... | Reviewer: Gina | 10/19/05
When I listen to the album I feel inspired, as if anything is possible if I just have faith and patience. I had to get the re-issue of Leave a Whsiper because of the acoustic versions of Simple Man and 45. I love Brent's voice, there is sooo much talent in the whole band. I watched them perform on Jimmy Kimmel and they were awesome. Brent tried to look "hard" while he was singing Save Me but I bet in real life he is a big 'ole teddy bear. He can sing to me anytime!!!
Brent Smith | Reviewer: shelly | 8/24/05
Brent Smith has an awesome voice!!! i love all of shinedown.... BUT Brent is freakishly HOT
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