Sound — 9
Well, it goes without saying, Shinedown sacrificed nothing when they lost Jasin Todd. The new album meets the expectations of diehard Shinedown fans, if not exceeds them in some ways. Shinedown can be as heavy as an modern hard-rock band, but still be able to come out with a phenomenal soft-rock song that will speak to the listeners. If you want proof, just listen to "Devour" and then "If You Only Knew". There is not a single song on this album that doesn't do the band justice, and I've listened to it all the way through it several times and it still isn't even remotely old to me. Also, with a lot of the recordings on this album, the band used a full 21-piece orchestra, giving Shinedown a sound that is both innovative and new/exciting. It has just the right mix of head banging masterpieces to soft rock opus'.
Lyrics — 10
Right off the bat, I have to say that Brent Smith is one of the greatest vocalists on the music scene today. He absolutely commands attention with his voice, and makes you listen to the lyrics. The lyrics themselves are very intelligent and often have deeper meanings than first implied. Brent's voice is just as crucial, if not more so, to the band's sound as the guitars, drums, and bass is. Right now I have to say that the song that will get most airtime off this album is probably "If You Only Knew". It is a staple soft-rock song, and the moment you hear the chorus you know you've got a song worthy of recognition. Also, the melodic crazy guitar lines in the verses of "Cyanide Sweet Tooth Suicide" will leave you with no doubt that Shinedown has extremely talented musicians.
Overall Impression — 10
In compariosn to Shinedown's other albums, I would say it meets and surpasses fans expectations. "Leave A Whisper" and "Us And Them" were both brilliant albums, but I think "Sound Of Madness" will be known as their most noteworthy album. The most impressive songs from the album are "Devour", "The Crow and the Butterfly", "If You Only Knew", "Cry For Help" and the piano masterpiece, "Call Me", the albums grand finale. I have to say I love everything about this album, and if it were lost or stolen I would definitely buy it again. This is a must have album for 2008.