10 Years Ago: Shinedown Shines Bright With "The Sound Of Madness"

June 25, 2018

Then early 2000's were good to Shinedown. They were a fresh new band with their own sound and they started off on a high note with their debut album Leave a Whisper going platinum, their second album Us and Them going gold, they started getting radio play, and the future looked bright for the young band.

But once their third album The Sound of Madness dropped on June 24th, 2008, Shinedown went from shining stars to full-blown solar flares.

However, frontman Brent Smith wasn't too fond of having to work under a deadline to push out their third album. Especially since their experience creating Us and Them was less than ideal. But Shinedown's biggest challenge lied interally. Bassist Brad Stewart wasn't happy, and Smith and guitarist Jasin Todd began feeling the effects of substance abuse. After learning he was going to be a father, Smith chose to get clean. However, the band was in the process of removing Todd. By April 2008, Todd was arrested for disorderly intoxication and resisting a police officer. A few days later, the band released a statement saying he was out of Shinedown.

When the writing process for The Sound of Madness began, Stewart was also out of the band, leaving Smith and drummer Barry Kerch to their own devices. With the need to  write a full album, prepare for the birth of his son, and deal with recovery, Smith had a lot of heavy weight to shoulder. But he managed to channel all of these challenges into a collection of songs both he and Kerch knew would be some of the most personal songs they have ever put together.

Smith and Kerch teamed up with Rob Cavallo, who produced albums for the Goo Goo Dolls and Green Day, and worked closely with Smith to uncorck all of his bottled-up potential into The Sound of Madness. They also worked with bassist Chris Chaney of Jane's Addiction, and guitarists Tim Pierce, Dave Bassett, Bobby Huff and Dale Oliver to take care of the album's instrumentals.

Ready to put together a touring band in support of the album, Smith and Kerch recruited Nick Perri of Silvertide on lead guitar. Zach Myers, joined on as rhythm guitar (and would take on lead upon Perri's departure). Lastly, after meeting him in the studio, Eric Bass was chosen for bass guitar.

The band's first single, "Devour" was an obvious hit for radio and reached the No. 1 spot for mainstream rock. It was also featured in many video games (EA Sports Madden NFL 09, Rock Band), movies (The Final Destination) and television programs (WWE Night of Champions, Real World/Road Rules Challenge).

According to Smith, "Devour" was based on many conversations he had while speaking with soldiers during visits to the Middle East, and how at the time, there wasn't a clear answer for why they were there.

The second single to make it off of The Sound of Madness was the somber "Second Chance", which stemmed from Smith's decision to leave his family behind in his youth to pursue his dream of a career in music, hoping that they may be able to rebuild their strained relationship. "Second Chance" also reached No. 1 on the mainstream rock charts and even crossed over to the Hot 100, reaching No. 7.

"The Crow & the Butterfly" was another chart-topper for Shinedown, earning plenty of airtime on rock radio. Smith described the song being inspired by a dream he had about a mother losing her daughter a month before the birth of her son, and the struggle of having to deal with such a huge loss.

Shinedown extended the album's relevance with a special reissue of The Sound of Madness with bonus tracks, including the foot-stomping "Diamond Eyes (Boom-Lay Boom-Lay Boom)", which was featured in the action film The Expendables per request of none other than Sylvester Stallone.

The Sound of Madness spent over 120 weeks on Billboard's 200 Album Chart, topping out at No. 8 and going double-platinum. On top of birthing four powerful radio hit singles and digging themselves out of one of the most difficult points in their career, Shinedown was able to solidify themselves as one of the most major touring acts in the country.