Sound — 8
Now, normally, jumping into a hard rock band's new CD would require soft cotton earplugs and some goggles in case of accidental slobber from the lead singer. Though as I found in The Sound of Madness, this wasn't exactly the case. I found myself enthralled in the so-called Sound of Madness (which I thought was going to be 41 minutes of insane shouting and the occasional gargling of water to make the pill go down easier.) It actually wasn't quite as scream-o-vision as I had first thought. In general, judging from Shinedown's previous sounds of not so madness, I was rather surprised to learn that Brent Smith said that this album would be heavier than usual (though I don't have the capability to measure the weight of mp3 files). It was a rather strange feeling hearing some classic hard rock and realizing "Dear God, this is Shinedown?" I was dazed and confused. It was so extreme, but still gentle enough to combat my insomnia enough to send me to dreamland, where I dreamed of some more heavy rock. So, as I see it, this transition to hard(er) rock is for the better.
Lyrics — 9
Now, "Devour"'s main idea is the government. Well, mainly how bloody horrible it has become, but you get the idea. I can appreciate a song about how my homeland's government has gone bat crap crazy. Though I think my bias against my country made me appreciate the song more. And as for the other 10 songs. Well, the word's not out on that just yet. I'm not the greatest lyrical interpreter. Somebody should be paid to figure out the meanings of songs. But if I may comment on Brent Smith's singing skills, I must say he's one of the best rock lyricists alive today. Here's an example: as I was taking a leisurely drive to a Finger Eleven concert with parents and friend, my mum's boyfriend had to admit that Smith had a great voice. This is exemplary, as this man is one of the harshest hard rock critics I've ever seen. He despises modern rock. So, as I see it, Mr. Smith's lyrics go with the beat, and vice-versa. Excellent.
Overall Impression — 7
Now, don't get me wrong, this CD is great, but it has some issues. I really only found "Devour" and "Sound of Madness" worth listening to. I started to drift off by the fifth or sixth song. And so I come to the conclusion that I didn't actually buy this for a reason. Well, technically, I stole it from a friend, who didn't buy a new copy. There's your confirmation of replay value. Listen to it a few times, then lose it in your CD case. As it gathers dust, you'll find it one day soon and play it again (but only the first two songs). I love the new sound (of madness), but it's not the greatest I've heard. After a few listens, I quickly switched to Ozzy. Overall, the Soun of Madness attracts a few more psychopaths to the asylum, but doesn't medicate them enough. They'll eventually kill an attending or two before the surgeon general shuts it down.