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Shinedown
LEAVE A WHISPER
(Atlantic)
Stars graphics

On their hit debut, Shinedown deliver gooey, lumbering hard rock in the vein of fellow southerners Saliva, with whom they share management and producer Bob Marlette. That means the Jacksonville band can be counted on for huge choruses like the one on the first single, "Fly from the Inside." Itís about determination, not insects: "Long live that day/That I decided to fly from the inside," frontman Brent Smith wails over a cascading guitar melody. After that promising start, the group spend too much of the disc mired in plodding grunge convention. Smithís glum lyrics donít help, though he does achieve genuine catharsis on the defiant "Better Version" and the metallic "Lacerated." For the power-waltzing second single, "45," Marlette hands the reins to producer Tony Battaglia, a veteran of the Orlando teen-pop explosion. As usual, Smith has a grim tale to tell: "Staring down the barrel of a .45/Swimming through the ashes of another life." But his Cornellian outburst at the end of the song is a showstopper.

(Shinedown perform this Tuesday, June 8, downstairs at the Middle East, 480 Massachusetts Avenue in Central Square; call 617-864-EAST.)

BY SEAN RICHARDSON


Issue Date: June 4 - 10, 2004
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