Two months ago I previewed the release of Shinedown’s first studio album since their 2008 release of The Sound of Madness. More than three years after its release, Amaryllis is here and while some of their oldest fans may be disappointed in the band’s evolution, I welcome it. Below is song-by-song breakdown and an overall score for the album. Enjoy, and please leave your thoughts.
1. “Adrenaline” starts with a fast stop-and-go guitar riff. With prominent drum work, a fast pace, and heavy guitar work, Shinedown could have made this the lead single if they wanted to entice their core fans. 6/10
2. “Bully” was the track the first single from the new album. The lyrics are pretty self-explicated, obviously condemning childhood bullying. Towards the end of the song a collection of children’s voices backup Brent Smith in his final run through the chorus. Overall, a good song, a good single, but not mind-blowing. 7/10
3. The title track, “Amaryllis,” opens with a clean sound and generally lacks the metal/hard rock style that
is was Shinedown’s hallmark. While this may not satisfy purist headbangers that long for the raw sound of Shinedown’s early work, I was impressed with this track, as it reminds me of the band’s biggest hit, “Second Chance.” 8/10
4. “Unity” starts with a great piano intro that moves flawlessly into the electric guitar. The chorus is catchy, despite using the cliché line “put your hands in the air” a little too often. According to Songfacts.com, lead singer Brent Smith explained that “It’s about loving your brothers and sisters. We’re all in this together and we should be building each other up instead of tearing each other down!” It was one of the album’s pre-release singles. 8/10
5. After Amaryllis and Unity, “Enemies” picks up the pace with a fast guitar riff and loud vocals. Much of the guitar work coincides with the vocal delivery which makes for nice synergy, but overall the song doesn’t standout and could come from any band in the genre. 6.5/10
6. Like some of the other tracks, “I’m Not Alright” starts with a soft intro, but sounds that is wildly unlike other Shinedown songs. With a Irish folk flavor, this track has a poppy chorus and very interesting string sounds. While this isn’t what I’m looking for when I turn on Shinedown, I can’t deny that it was an enjoyable song. 8/10
7. “Nowhere Kids” is one of the more forgettable tracks on the album. It is very upbeat, but that only makes it blend in more. They develop a somewhat catchy hook in the chorus with Brent Smith’s delivery of the lyrics “No one needs you after all,” but even so it doesn’t have any particular element that is especially enjoyable. Overall, a very average track. 5/10
8. “Miracle” gives Brent Smith a great opportunity to showcase his talent. The vocals take center stage in this song, and with a vocalist like Brent Smith that is a positive. 7.5/10
9. “I’ll Follow You” breaks any and all expectations for a Shinedown song. Shinedown included a touching piano track on their last album with “Call Me,” but this track goes for a louder, more rousing, f0lksy, and intense sound while still keeping it slow and piano based. It certainly makes for an interesting song, even if not as strong as their last “Call Me” from The Sound of Madness. 6.5/10
10. “For My Sake” opens with great guitar work leading into Brent Smith vocals, building to a great chorus. 7/10
11. “My Name (Wearing Me Out)” is one of the weaker tracks on the album. Forced cursing, a lack of novelty, and lyrics that don’t resonate bring this track down. The biggest problem is it sounds like every other song in the mish-mash of Three Days Grace, Three Doors Down, Puddle of Mudd, etc. 5.5/10
12. “Through the Ghost” There’s nothing wrong with this track, it’s just a little boring. There are some cool bell sounds in the background and the acoustic guitar is spot on, but it doesn’t do anything special for me. 5.5/10
Amaryllis was not what I was expecting, but because I prefer alternative rock to heavy metal/rock, I was pleased with the evolution of the band and direction of this album. The title track, “Unity,” and “I’m Not Alright” were standouts. This album surpassed my expectations, but will probably disappoint fans of Shinedown’s earlier work who prefer a heavier more metal type sound. In all, I grade the album: 7/10
For a dissenting opinion, check out this negative Nancy’s blog.
Rating are subject to change…if I change my mind. As always, please subscribe to this blog by clicking the “Follow” button at the top of the right sidebar. If you don’t have a WordPress account, you’ll have to enter your email address. You can share your opinions in the comment section below or by tweeting to @Ryan_Kantor. Thanks for reading!
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Right as soon as I heard Adrenaline and Unity I immediately bought the entire album on iTunes. I would certainly rate this 9 out of 10 or four and a half stars, only because The Sound of Madness had to be the best album ever in Shinedown history.
THIS is the Shinedown I miss:
I like this type of sound from Shinedown as well. I like the verses a lot, I don’t like chorus as much. I would imagine you feel the opposite (haven’t read the lyrics though).
I like the entire song from beginning to end. Great intro where the bass line in the background eventually becomes the main riff. Also love the little interlude at the 2:00 mark, and the way Brent yells, “There’s no more love!” with such raw power.
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