Sound — 9
Shinedown return to the music scene strongly with the long awaited release of their fourth studio album "AmaryllisB>", and the wait does not disappoint. This album is full of the heavy hitters Shinedown have been known for throughout their careers ("Adrenaline", "Enemies", "My Name (Wearing Me Out)"), and it also has plenty of soothing, emotional ballads ("Unity", "I'll Follow You") that those who grew to love Shinedown during "The Sound Of Madness" era will come to appreciate. Amaryllis features some of the tightest production from any Shinedown album to date, and it is diverse enough to please a wide variety of music fans. Brent Smith's voice is phenomenal once again in this release, Zach Myers shows some tasteful solos along with fist pumping riffs, and Barry Kerch and Eric Bass are the glue that holds this album's groove together.
Lyrics — 7
Brent has always been once of my favorite lyricists since the "Leave A Whisper" days, and he still shows he can be a poignant writer throughout "Amaryllis". Longtime fans of Shinedown will probably notice the lyrical choice in this release is typically more straightforward than Brent's lyrics were in past albums, but he still manages to tell stories throughout the record. The lyrical themes across "Amaryllis" have an "us against the world" vibe, whether they be about pushing yourself while at the end of your rope as in "Adrenaline", being faced with people trying to tear you down as in "Bully" and "Enemies", or questioning what happened to past memories as in "Through The Ghost". While I enjoyed the overall theme of the album, I'll give this section a little knock because I expected some of the lyrical choices to be more unique, but Brent still yet has a knack for writing like few current musicians do.
Overall Impression — 8
Shinedown definitely have an album to be proud of after spending many months in the studio. I'm personally partial to the band's earlier style in "Leave A Whisper" and "Us & Them", but "Amaryllis" is an impressive release that should turn some heads in the rock community. 01. "Adrenaline" - I can see this song becoming one of Shinedown's main live openers. Upbeat, aggressive, full of "adrenaline". 02. "Bully" - Good song with a nice message, but I don't think it deserved to be the first single. The song does feature one of my favorite solos from Myers though. 03. "Amaryllis" - The title track is the first gem on this album. Great melody with an amazing chorus. This track features lyrics I've come to grow and love Brent for writing, and this song has single written all over it. 04. "Unity" - This song has all the makings of a great ballad on the surface. There's a strong message along with huge music, but I expected more from the chorus in this song. The song just didn't explode the way I felt it should have after the early build up. 05. "Enemies" - This is definitely my favorite heavy song on the album. Zach's best riffs are featured on this track, and you can really tell that the entire band clicked while making this one. Should be a lot of fun at concerts. 06. "I'm Not Alright" - One of the more unique Shinedown songs I've ever heard, complete with a massive horn section. This song is still up for debate with me, but I appreciate the creative attempt the band went for with this one. 07. "Nowhere Kids" - This is the one track on the album I can't get into at all. I'm not a huge fan of the lyrics, and some of the vocal effects seem cheesy. Just a generic rock song without much appeal. 08. "Miracle" - This is the perfect song for fans of "If You Only Knew" and "The Crow & The Butterfly". I love how upbeat this song is, and I'm a fan of the lyrics as well. Hopefully the band does an acoustic version of this soon. 09. "I'll Follow You" - This is my, hands down, favorite song on "Amaryllis". This song features a very soulful side of Brent, and his voice is full of power and emotion throughout. Along with the title track, this song also features my favorite lyrics from the record. Shinedown have a bona fide hit with "I'll Follow You". 10. "For My Sake" - This is a solid rocker that I believe fans from "Leave A Whisper" will appreciate. I could have seen this song being on the debut album, and it's full of that raw emotion I came to love Shinedown for in the early years. 11. "My Name (Wearing Me Out)" - This song seems to hit me harder every time I listen to it. It reminds me of some of the rockers on "The Sound Of Madness" ("Sin With A Grin", "Cyanide Sweet Tooth Suicide"), and it's a cool song to have near the end of the album. 12. "Through The Ghost" - A very haunting track featuring mainly acoustic guitars and orchestral work, and it's a nice way to close the album. Thought provoking message behind this song as well. With every album release, Shinedown manage to create a unique sound for themselves. While "Amaryllis" sounds similar at times to "The Sound Of Madness" and also reflects some on their older style, this album definitely has an identity of its own. I wish the band would let Myers rip loose on solos a little bit more because I know he is capable of it, but other than that I was satisfied with the musical arrangements. As a longtime Shinedown fan, I can see this album getting its fair share of spins along with the first three records.