Review by Mabh Savage
The last couple of albums I’ve been listening to, while awesome, have been pretty dark and intense. So first off, this album was a real breath of fresh air. Although aggressive musically, it’s aggressively cheerful, in the same way as a serial killer can have a big grin on their face while carving someone up…
Adrenaline brings this album to bouncing life, with pure rock guitars and a vocal line that is just the right amount of grit. There is a lyric in this track, glorious disaster, and I think that is a perfect description; heavy, brash, melodic and joyful. Unexpected in the current metal fashion for doom and gloom.
Bully feels a little contrived, although the chorus seems to have been crafted from the DNA of actual ear-worms. It’s that catchy.
Title track Amaryllis is unashamedly melodic and I swear there’s an acoustic guitar track in there, before a soaring chorus that demands fist pumping and hair swinging. This is definitely in the realms of soft rock, but acceptably so.
Unity continues the soft rock style, another anthem about rising from the dark and looking for hope. Put your hands in the air one more time vocalist Brent Smith commands; yeah, it’s a little cheesy but I like it. It’s…jolly…
Then suddenly there’s an avalanche of rolling guitars and angry vocals as Enemies proves quite conclusively that Shinedown are clearly capable of the darker side of rock. Lyrically, it’s a little unoriginal but it flows and stomps and is a definite moshing track.
I’m Not Alright sounds like the title of a Panic! at the Disco song, but starts with a cheerful acoustic guitar, joined by Mike Patton style vocals a la Epic. The chorus bounces in, juxtaposing quite emo lyrics with a ridiculously cheerful tune.
This is countered by a sweary and angry My Name (Wearing Me Out); another catchy chorus but much darker and fiercer. The drummer gets to let loose a bit on this track and as such this is a much heavier track too.
The final track, Through the Ghost, is a sorrowful farewell, deep and richly textured with strings, bells and keys. Almost over the top, but Shinedown’s skill seems to be in not quite going too far!
Smith says the album is about ‘empowerment, perseverance and inspiration‘ and it’s certainly got more positive vibes than you can shake a talking stick at. However, the upbeat cheerfulness never becomes cloying and the occasional foray into the darker, edgier tunes keeps the album interesting. If you’re looking for something heavy and angry, don’t bother. But if you’re looking for some decent tunes and a chance to rock out, yeah, this album does the business. Fun, entertaining and really well put together. Four stars from me.