Like Black Stone Cherry, Shinedown are one of those bands that are lumped into the US radio rock bracket, but aren’t actually faced with much antagonism towards them. The reason for this is probably because of their consistently strong clutch of songs, and ‘Threat To Survival’ is no different.
The band’s fifth album follows the same structure that’s become their calling card, namely polished, uncomplicated hard rock bolstered by Brent Smith’s booming vocals. To say they’re good at what they do may sound like an empty compliment, but it’s true – that’s what they’re best at, and ‘Threat To Survival’ is yet more proof of this. ‘Oblivion’ and ‘Cut The Cord’ are both hefty slices of riffola, while ‘Asking For It’ and ‘State Of My Head’ get the arena-filling choruses in nice and early.
If you think you’ve heard it before, you probably have. Especially stateside, bands peddling this kind of sound are hardly in short supply, but Shinedown are undeniably amongst the best. On this album especially, it’s Smith who acts as the secret weapon, pushing these songs from merely another collection of radio-friendly unit-shifters to something much better. His voice is hardly the best in the world, but it’s infinitely preferable over something like Chad Kroeger’s constipated drawl.
Still, there are some moments that even he can’t save, like the ballad ‘Thick As Thieves’, smoothened of any edge whatsoever and resembling another piece of perennially homogenised mush. Nevertheless, this is a criticism you’ll find attributed to Shinedown far less than the other bands they find in their box. Looking at ‘Threat To Survival’ in this way, it’s actually a perfectly decent album. Fans of rock’s more cerebral end may scoff, and it’s hardly going to change the world, but if you’re after the kind of music you can throw your arms up dramatically to, you can’t go far wrong here.
‘Threat To Survival’ by Shinedown is out now on Atlantic.
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Words by Luke Nuttall(@nuttall_luke)