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CD Review: Shinedown – Us and Them

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What’s the 4-1-1?
Can Shinedown break the alleged ‘sophomore slump’ with their latest release?

Hard rock / rock

The Good
A killer guitar riff courtesy of Jasin Todd kicks off the music portion of the disc on “Heroes.” Brent Smith gives one hell of a vocal performance as he recalls his fallen idols and how they live on in his memory. “Save Me” has been tearing up rock radio as of late, and it’s no wonder; the simple guitar lick is just enough to tear through you, and the passionate chorus about drug addiction resonates for days. Drummer Barry Kerch sets a frantic pace on “Yer Majesty.” The track barrels along like a loaded freight train with the help of Todd’s driving riffs.

It’s no surprise that when Shinedown break out their acoustic equipment they’re at the top of their game. “Beyond the Sun” mixes both acoustics with electrics to create an emotionally charged power ballad. Another powerful acoustic ballad is “Begin Again.”. This one is totally unplugged and really highlights Smith’s throaty pipes. The steady guitar lick that dominates “Fake” would make any classic southern rock band proud.

The Bad
“Lady So Devine” tends to run on a bit too long.

The Verdict
If properly promoted (a rarity these days), Shinedown has all the potential to become the next big rock band. Us and Them follows the same path as their debut album Leave a Whisper, but at the same time shows the band’s progression and improvement. Shinedown has a great rock sound, and a great rock voice. If I had received this release before the end of 2005, it would have defiantly made the top of my list for albums of the year.

Did You Know?
Shinedown is probably best known for their acoustic cover of the Lynyrd Skynyrd classic “Simple Man.”

Rating: 5 out of 5

Originally posted by author at Rock-Is-Life.com

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About George Dionne