Personnel: Delaney McLernon, Brent Smith (vocals); Dave Bassett (guitar, synthesizer, programming); Zach Myers (guitar, background vocals); Barry Kerch (drums, percussion); Eric Bass (background vocals).
Recording information: Agoura Borealis Studio; Capitol Studios, Hollywood; NRG Studios, No-Ho, CA; Ocean Industries Studio, Charleston, SC; The Cabin Studio, Los Angeles, CA.
Illustrator: Alex Kirzhner.
The fifth studio long-player from the Jacksonville, Florida-based hard rock unit, Threat to Survival is also Shinedown's most pop-oriented set of songs to date. Front-loaded with two of its hardest-hitting (and classic-sounding) cuts in "Asking for It" and the hefty first single "Cut the Cord," both of which are as hook-laden as they are bruising, Threat to Survival begins to detour from the post-grunge highway with "State of My Head," a slick amalgam of electro-pop and vintage alt-rock with a catchy as hell though extremely well-worn chorus. Meticulously crafted radio fodder like "How Did You Love," "Thick as Thieves," and the Killers-lite "Misfits" follow suit, further distancing the group from its nu-metal origins, but the band hasn't completely lost its knack for crafting punishing blasts of groove-laden and distortion-heavy modern rock. The roaring "Oblivion" sees vocalist Brent Smith doing his best Layne Staley impression while the band lets loose a firestorm of heavily compressed decibels behind him, and late album highlight "Black Cadillac," which somehow manages to both brutalize and swing, seems destined to become a fan favorite. If anything, Threat to Survival proves that Shinedown still have plenty of gas left in the tank, and while the occasional foray into the shallower end of the mainstream may divide some listeners, there's enough here to keep longtime followers satiated (and probably a little curious/nervous as to what the future holds) until the next ride. ~ James Christopher Monger
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