What can you possibly do to follow up the biggest record of your career? That was the daunting task facing Shinedown after their hugely successful “The Sound of Madness” record. Many bands have struggled after such a success and I will admit to having low expectations for their newest release, “Amaryllis.” Would they be able to rise to the occasion?
After hearing the first single, “Bully,” on satellite radio, I wasn’t exactly impressed. But after a few weeks, it grew on me and I found myself singing right along with it. I’m glad I didn’t judge the rest of “Amaryllis” by that one song because the new record is jam-packed with terrific tunes.
The new record is sleeker and more polished than the Shinedown of old and they have never sounded better. Fans who prefer the heavier side of Shinedown will appreciate hard hitting tracks like “Adrenaline,” “Enemies,” and “My Name (Wearing Me Out)” along with the incredible guitar work of Zach Myers. But where the band really shines is on the mid-tempo rockers of “Amaryllis” and “Unity” and their powerhouse ballads. Brent Smith’s vocals are so emotional and he just resonates beautifully on the slower songs. This is especially true on “Through the Ghost.” The best song on “Amaryllis” is “I’ll Follow You” which features not only Brent at his best but the beautiful piano of Eric Bass. It has quickly become one of my favorite Shinedown songs.
Shinedown has definitely upped their game with “Amaryllis.” It is their strongest record to date and will no doubt be a monster success. Whether you love them or hate them, this CD is worth a listen. Like me, you may just find yourself pleasantly surprised.