Shinedown sprung to my attention with the haunting song 45, which tells the tale of someone who is on the edge staring down the barrel of a gun, contemplating suicide.
This first album is full of hard rock songs which are given direction courtesy of the strong vocals of the lead singer. However it's not hard rock for the sake of it, the riffs are powerful but have a direction to them and gel nicely with the lyrics.
The album flows between songs which are fast and furious from the very start, to those who have a much softer melody which is only broken by the more insistent bridge and hook.
I don't like to categorise songs because I think it overshadows the quality of the content. However if I needed to pigeon hole these songs I would describe them as being full of emotion and pain which deal with feelings of loneliness, hopelessness, desperation. Other songs deal with the pining of a loved one but I never get the feeling that these are artificial emotions and it is this authenticity which draws me into the music. The lyrics although not particularly intricate are open, honest and heartfelt and are above average for this genre. They certainly do not feel formulaic and cynical.
This is an extremely consistent album and there are very few songs which I don't enjoy. The standouts for this album are the brilliant 45, an excellent cover of what was originally an excellent song Simple Man, Crying Out, Burning Bright.
This is an excellent starting point for this band to go on and only improve. This won't be to everyones tastes of course and the message of "angst" just doesn't sit right with some people but then again what is real about the often contrived nature of "upbeat and positivity"?
This is not a flawless album but it is immensely enjoyable and I look forward to hearing further releases from them.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 Fly from the Inside
2 Left Out
3 Lost in the Crowd
4 No More Love
5 Better Version
6 Burning Bright
7 In Memory
8 All I Ever Wanted
9 Stranger Inside
11 Crying Out