Shinedown are a band I have never really cared for. Outside of “Devour” I have never really found anything in their music that I connected with, and it isn’t through lack of trying. When it was announced that they would be releasing their 5th album “Threat to Survival” this year I kind of shrugged and went on with my life. It was only when I heard rumblings that this would be a different kind of Shinedown album to their previous work I decided that maybe I should give them another go.
Now a different kind of Shinedown album doesn’t mean they have ditched their trademark radio rock sound and suddenly released a death metal album, but it does mean they have made a few tweaks to their tried and tested formula. “Threat to Survival” is an album built on ebbs and flows, with different moods and shades of grey. There are gospel choirs, heavy guitars, more restrained guitars, moments that sound like the world conquering band we are all familiar with, and at times a more insular serene sounding band.
There are some truly catchy songs on this album, as well as songs with truly relatable lyrics all wrapped in choruses so huge they could create earthquakes not even The Rock could save us from. I think therein lies Shinedown‘s greatest strength, and that is their ability to take songs like ‘Asking for it’, ‘Cut the Chord’, ‘Outcast’ and ‘Black Cadillac’ which are all snap shots of different emotions and make them work as a collective whole without it sounding forced or gimmicky.
“Threat to Survival” is unmistakably a Shinedown album at its very core, but it is also an album that shows even when you think you have a band totally figured out and you have already made your mind up about them one way or another they can still do something that surprises you.
Don’t get me wrong, I won’t be the president of the Shinedown fan club any time soon, but I will definitely be bumping this album for a while to come yet. I think at this stage it’s a testament to who Shinedown are that they are able to stay true to who they are, but also expand upon what they have done before and create something totally fresh that will not only appeal to their hardcore fan base but also make believers out of even the most hardened cynic.