Review

On Shinedown's third album, The Sound of Madness, the Jacksonville-based band hits every post-grunge expectation: winding up the guitar riffs with thin, flattened distortion; pumping up rhythms with steroids; punctuating melodies with familiar fills; and writing vaguely inspirational lyrics that come close to confirming the group's rumored Christian rock origins. Their precision is accentuated by producer Rob Cavallo's pristine production, digitally designed to push Shinedown over into the big leagues where they can have the occasional adult rock power ballad hit without losing their testosterone-fueled audience. Nothing is left to chance, and that's the way Shinedown's fans like it. Some of those fans -- the ones who like to see the band on the WWE, where "Devour," the first song on The Sound of Madness and its first single, is 2008's Night of Champions theme song -- may carp slightly about that slight increase in gloss and almost imperceptible uptick in power ballads, but most won't notice these subtle shifts as Shinedown serve up what they always have: active modern rock embodying the sound of post-grunge in the new millennium. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi

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