Sometimes you hear a track on the radio and, even though you don't know the band, it catches your ear. That happened to me recently with a track called Sound of Madness from the band Shinedown.
Rock Radio has been playing this track for a while now and the first couple of times I heard it I thought, "I like this. I wonder who it is?" but this changed fairly quickly to, "Excellent. The Shinedown track again. I must find out more about these chaps.". So I went for a sniff about the Internet and was pleased to discover they have a four track package available as a free download from the wonderfully named Grabatrack service. Even better, one of the four tracks is Sound Of Madness!
The band hails from Florida and I can detect a Southern Rock element in their sound but it's Southern Rock delivered with Hard Rock power and passion. I have seen their style described as melodic rock and post-grunge (not sure what that means!) but from what I've heard I'd just go for hard rock.
Before going any further, it is worth noting that AllMusic is pretty sniffy about the band claiming that they "...play every post-grunge cliché as if it were dogma", "Nothing is left to chance so nothing surprises..." and "Shinedown serve up what they always have: active modern rock embodying the sound of post-grunge in the new millennium without offering much that is memorable, either for better or for worse." It is clear that the AllMusic reviewer is less than impressed! There may or may not be some truth in their criticism but I find I disagree completely with their conclusion. Clearly, for me, Shinedown were memorable and distinctive otherwise they would never have attracted my attention on Rock Radio in the first place.
So, I am saying AllMusic is wrong. You can make up your own mind by checking out the free download... and if you disagree with me, you're wrong too!
There are four tracks for download: one from each of their first two albums and two from their most recent release.
Fly From The Inside comes from their first album (Leave a Whisper) and there is an element of power ballad here but concentrate on the music rather than the lyrics for a while and you'll hear a solid rock track underpining it. I like Brent Smith's vocals - a rough edge to them that works well with the strong guitar sound.
Save Me comes from their second album (Us and Them). This has a (relatively) quite start and a brooding hook that draws you in to a soaring chorus.
Cyanide Sweet Tooth Suicide and Sound Of Madness round off the package and both come from Sound of Madness. Cyanide blasts off at full pelt and sweeps you along at that pace only slowing down for a feedback filled conclusion. For me though, the standout track is Sound Of Madness. Brent's vocals sound positively menacing. The guitar solo leads into a section where Brent almost chants the lyrics as the rest of the band fades down in the mix before coming back for a final, noisy, run at the chorus. Time money and effort has clearly gone into the production.
Far be it from me to look a gift horse in the mouth but there are one or two problems with this download. On the plus side, the four tracks are bundled into a single zip file which makes downloading easy. However, the mp3 files are not tagged in any way: no album art; no artist name; no nothing! In fact, even the file names are mixed up with the names of the two tracks from Sound Of Madness swapped. A bit disappointing but not disastrous.
Four great free tracks from Shinedown. Download them and enjoy!