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Shinedown - 'Threat To Survival' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/76/a8/54/Shinedown-Threat-To-Survival-2-1449603511.jpg Hot

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For those who wanting something in line with the last two albums, there's disappointment ahead.

Three years since 'Amaryllis' meant that a new album was overdue. Your impression of 'Threat To Survival' will depend on your acceptance of the fact that Shinedown like to evolve, or your disappointment that it's as far away from its predecessor and 'The Sound Of Madness' as it possibly could be. That said, we've been here before in the transition from the Grunge-orientated 'Leave A Whisper' to 'Us And Them' and with more recent albums and it hasn't really affected their popularity.

Like many Modern Rock albums in recent times – think Pop Evil's latest album, Halestorm, or the last Black Stone Cherry album – there's been a trend for the rawer, simpler and less polished sound of reinvention.

'...Survival' replaces the overdone anthem verse chorus approach with something far more groove-orientated with processed vocals and the much maligned auto-tune no longer out of bounds. Bassist Eric Bass co-produced the whole affair but co-producers such as Scott Stevens, Dave Bassett and Pete Napi (who also co-wrote the songs) were drafted in on a track by track basis to give the songs a uniqueness across the album.

Brent Smith's vocals are the one constant. Opener 'Asking For It' is decent enough but doesn't quite seem upbeat enough to be the lead off track. 'Cut The Cord' – a long lost cousin of 'Bully' – and the Led Zeppelin-esque (check out Barry Kerch's John Bonham-esque drumming) 'Black Cadillac' bring to mind some of the more groove-orientated material on the PE's 'Up' album; the latter adding an almost Gospel quality to the Audioslave style groove.

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Format crossover hits arrive in the form of 'State Of My Head', with its chinking keys and spacious drum beat, and the sublime 'Dangerous' which is perhaps as close as it gets to the more familiar Shinedown.

It's not all good, evolving or not with the arrival of the plodding 'Oblivion' and 'Outcast', the too clever by half 'Thick As Thieves' and the contrived 'It All Adds Up', an awkward cross between The Belle Stars 'Clapping Song' and The Beach Boys.

'How Did You Love' is decent enough mid-paced "radio friendly" fare but it suffers due to the one paced nature of the album and when 'Misfits' – a genuinely slow song – arrives towards the back end of the album, all excitement evaporates.

'Threat To Survival' isn't a bad album by any stretch of the imagination. If you like the fact that the band haven't produced 'Amaryllis' part two, the production is rawer and the band want to experiment and evolve then, this album will have you nodding along in approval. For those who wanting something in line with the last two albums, there's disappointment ahead and this could well be a step too far.

Mike Newdeck

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