Sound — 8
I feel like Shinedown had the blessing of finding a really great sound on their debut album. They are a great Alternative/Hard Rock band, but they also prove that they are versitile enough to pull off some very soulful music (i.e. cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Simple Man").
Lyrics — 10
The main thing that captivates so many people about Shinedown is found in the vocal intensity and beauty of lead singer Brent Smith. He does on this album, what you see on most bands later albums: give everything you've got. On this album, with songs like "45" and "Simple Man" he proves that he can be noticed like that, while at the same time shows that he can play with the whole band in songs such as "Fly From The Inside". I feel that the lyrics in the songs match the quote on the back of the CD booklet perfectly. "This record was written for the dreamers. For the people that have, in one way or another been cut down or cast out of society for being different or having an opinion. It is an expression of insecurity and frutration, and yet the will to overcome. There is no turnig back now that you've opened up your mind. Shinedown"
Overall Impression — 10
I think this album overall has a very experienced sound to it, which is impressive due to the fact that it is their first studio album. If you want to hear what Shinedown is about, listen to their masterpeiece that is "45". Other promising tracks on it are "Fly From The Inside", "Burning Bright", and their cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Simple Man".