A solid offering, but not much more than that

This one escaped on 4 May 2018, but the bank holiday weekend got in the way and Allan wasn’t in any fit state to type, let alone understand that these noises were anything other than incipient headaches

I’ve got a bit of a love-hate thing going on with Shinedown. I’d heard a few tracks before I got to see them live and was really looking forward to seeing them in a support slot. Unfortunately, what I got on that occasion was a series of rants from the lead singer interspersed occasionally with some music, some of which sounded really good while the rest sounded like backing for more ranting. Impressed was almost entirely the opposite of how I felt about them at that point in time.

However, that was not to be the end as they were supporting the almighty Iron Maiden on their last tour, so I reluctantly turned up in time to see if they’d improved since then. Gobsmackingly, they had. Gone were the lengthy rants and complete misreading of the mood of the crowd, and replacing it came some heavy-as-hell riffage and a really great performance. Delving into their back catalogue afterwards suggested that my first impression might have been a little harsh, so when the chance came up to review their brand-new sixth album I figured I’d give it a spin.

It’s definitely the latter-day version of Shinedown on the album – it’s perfectly captured their heaviness, and in particular Brent’s powerful vocal. It would appear that the preachy ranting that I so disliked when I first saw them has been turned inward into the music itself, with the lyrical content now howling its message from within, rather than relying on the breaks between the songs. It would appear that Brent’s been having a bit of a downward turn, and the song charts the fall and recovery from this bout of depression in a hard, almost angry way. Brent still can’t resist the social messages either, with tracks like ‘Kill Your Conscience’ and ‘Special’ espousing the modern-day evils of social media and the impact it has on mental health.

Musically, it has more in common with their earlier albums than their more recent Threat to Survival, although I can’t help but feel that it could have done with mirroring the 40 minute run-time of that album. While every track is well put together and there’s not really a ‘weak’ track on the album as such, it does sort of fade away toward the end. I wouldn’t say there’s a particular stand-out track, although single ‘Devil’ and ‘Pyro’ have apparently seen the most play-time according to my track statistics, so make of that what you will.

If you’re a fan already, I reckon you’ll love it – it’s certainly taking the band forward and it’s all very well put together, and it’s recognisably Shinedown, faults and all. Overall, I’d say they’ve not quite made a convert of me yet, but at least I’ve progressed from rolling my eyes and putting something else on instead these days. I’d probably even buy a best-of album (or add it on my spotify playlist, anyway). For now, I’ll keep listening to it for at least a little while longer, see if I can get it to grow on me.

Shinedown – ATTENTION ATTENTIONTrack list:

  1. The Entrance
  2. Devil
  3. Black Soul
  4. Attention Attention
  5. Kill Your Conscience
  6. Pyro
  7. Monsters
  8. Darkside
  9. Creatures
  10. Evolve
  11. Get Up
  12. Special
  13. The Human Radio
  14. Brilliant