Review: Shinedown- Attention Attention

\"\"Three years removed from Threat To Survival, Shinedown are back with Attention Attention– their sixth overall and is a return to their heavier rock roots while also keeping the sounds of their previous two records. Amaryllis and Threat To Survival saw the band evolving to a more electronic rock-base and it was very successful but a lot of fans missed the heavier material of Leave a Whisper and Sound of Madness, which Attention Attention combines into one cohesive rock experience that has something for every phase of Shinedown fan. This is a concept record, which singer Brent Smith has said tells the story of an individual who’s in a horrible mental state and, over the course of the album, works his way through to a brighter place, facing many personal demons and dark emotions along the way. It goes without saying the band nailed this on the head in so many ways. After a pretty cool intro, the record opens with lead single “Devil,” which blew fans away from the second it was released but, if they think this is the strongest song on the album, they’re in for one hell of a ride. “Black Soul” is one that is guaranteed to be an instant favorite among the Shinedown Nation and is intense from the very start and is one of the top tracks on the album before hitting us with the title track, which has a dark, hammering instrumental beginning and also has one of the most melodic and addictive verse-chorus combinations Shinedown have ever put together. “Kill Your Conscience” and “Pyro” would have fit perfectly on Threat To Survival but have a stronger rock base than some of those songs did- even though they had it too- these songs take it up a notch while keeping the electronic elements. “Monsters” has a very haunting Zach Myers guitar opening and mixed with Brent Smith’s vocals is an instant home run and fits right in with a classic like “45” while “Creatures” is a yet another beautifully-crafted ballad. After “Evolve,” which fits right in with “Adrenaline,” we get to “Get Up”- a stomach-punching ballad that really shows Smith and company opening up the floodgates and has one of the most memorable lines of all their records- “It’s hard to move mountains when you’re paralyzed, but you’ve gotta try”. If you’ve ever had a battle with serious depression and feel like you can’t get up, get out of bed or feel like you’re not worth anything, this is your battle cry. “Ain’t nothing normal when it comes to you and me, I’d rather twist myself in knots than watch you give up on your dreams; If you were ever in doubt, don’t sell yourself short, you might be bulletproof” are so powerful in this song that it will almost bring you to tears. Then we come to “special,” which goes in the complete opposite direction and sees the band calling out people who think the world will stop for them and and waiting for their moment to come instead of going for it and earning it themselves- “Stop waiting on your 15 minutes of fame, cuz you’re not special. I’m not trying to rain on your parade, but you’re not special. I’m not trying to bring you down, I’m not trying to sound so ineffectual, but you’re not special.” This is also a direct follow-up to “Get Up,” with a choir singing the chorus to that song at the end of “special,” making for what’s probably the best two-punch knockout combo of any Shinedown album and features some of Brent Smith’s most moving vocal work yet. Then we kick things back up a notch with “The Human Radio,” which opens with a kickass Eric Bass bass-riff before a Barry Kerch drum fill kicks in and the chorus absolutely blows away and is one of the heaviest songs the band has put out since Sound of Madness took over the rock world. It ends with an angelic rock choir belting out the choral lines in unison so overpowering that it stays with you long after the song is done. This one is Shinedown’s coming out party and a statement song and shows each band member shining individually and together before “Brilliant” closes things out in dominant fashion. In the end, Shinedown have combined elements of every album into one complex sound and it has paid off in more ways than one. Attention Attention is the heaviest record they’ve put together in almost a decade but also features some of the most gorgeous material they’ve ever written. Shinedown have a complete grand slam of a record with Attention Attention and there’s something for fans of their classic material and as well as fans of the more recent stuff. Rating: 10/10 -Reggie Edwards