Album Review: Shinedown - 'Amaryllis'

1 April 2012 | 12:46 pm | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

A disappointing outing for an obviously capable rock outfit.

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As a mainstream rock artist, Shinedown has seen its share of success. For some time, it has produced “by the books, no risks” rock music that has garnered passing marks while seeing a few hit songs spill out here and there; doing just enough to keep them in the back of people’s minds. Just as quickly as bands can rise to pseudo-fame, they sure as hell can fall.

Amaryllis is the mediocre pay-off to a lot of hard toil.

It might appeal to the same kind of person who thinks Nickelback is a band that has gotten better with age like a fine wine, but frankly, these people will be the first sterilised when I’m in charge. The record shows fleeting glimpses of promise during the grittier tracks, but even they’re so rife with rock ‘n’ roll clichés, it’s almost hard to take Shinedown seriously.

And forget about the softer, “written for radio play” tracks. The amount of corn stashed within them could keep old folks in nurseries eating for weeks; if mashed into a fine paste, naturally.

The record opens in shambling form as Shinedown try their hand at an almost faux-thrash metal three-minute mess in “Adrenaline”, though it’s quickly followed up by one of the record’s better tracks. Though it steps into activist-terrain, Bully” conveys its message in an assured, confident manner all the while being bookended by a pretty crunching riff from guitarists Brent Smith and Zach Myers.

The record’s greatest failing is in its lyricism, as it never lets up in dishing up the figurative cheese platter. Smith is a very capable vocalist, too. He has a power in his voice not possessed by many rock vocalists loitering in the mainstream; yet he is his own downfall as he fails to pen a single compelling or thought-provoking line.

A lot of ‘Amaryllis stinks of a group simply going through the motions.

They try using just about every trick in the book is used as Shinedown even tap into their inner Smashing Pumpkins on the closing track “Through the Ghost”, as the break out the timpani and bells; only in a much more generic, forgettable fashion.

I’ve heard bad records before, and this isn’t necessarily one of them. It’s just a few strokes below par for a clearly capable Shinedown. It has one or two songs that might resonate with you, but other than that, it’s as forgettable as it is disappointing.

1. Adrenaline
2. Bully
3. Amaryllis
4. Unity
5. Enemies
6. I'm Not Alright
7. Nowhere Kids
8. Miracle
9. I'll Follow You
10. For My Sake
11. My Name (Wearing Me Out)
12. Through the Ghost