After a lengthy four years in the making, Shinedown have finally released their seventh studio album ‘Planet Zero‘. The Jacksonville hard rock four piece are constantly evolving, with this body of work definitely the heaviest to date! ‘Planet Zero’ is their second concept album, a follow up to ‘Attention Attention’ back in 2018. Whilst ‘Attention Attention’ was about a person who was in a dark place mentally and emotionally, bassist Eric Bass describes ‘Planet Zero’ as being ‘a glimpse into the future if we continue with the way we’re treating each other. This record is a warning, in a lot of ways, to everyone. It’s not a record for the right, it’s not a record for the left… for Black, white, Asian, Hispanic. It’s a record for all of us.’

Whilst this album is still typically Shinedown in many ways, there is definitely a grittier, rage-fuelled sound to this record in comparison to the previous six albums. ‘No Sleep Tonight’ is a brilliant full-length opener to the album, following on from the instrumental ‘2184’. It is undeniably catchy, putting their best foot forward to adopt more of a punk rock sound, with the attitude to go with it! The self-titled ‘Planet Zero’ is ultimately my favourite track on the album to date, with a heavy rock riff definitely taking me to planet zero and beyond!

‘Dysfunctional You’ is a slower song, but it doesn’t mean that it’s not great. ‘Dead Don’t Die’ drags us right back in, in typical Shinedown fashion. At this point, you can truly see that the band know exactly what they are doing and what they need to do differently at this point in their career.

‘America Burning’ definitely helps to put Shinedown on the map for being outspoken and current, seemingly discussing the controversial yet important topic of how the US is handling gun control, not to mention the ‘white privilege’ row. ‘A Symptom Of Being Human’ takes us down more of an acoustic path, with vocalist Brent Smith singing about how it’s perfectly normal to have a bad day and to remind people that there is light at the end of the tunnel – truly beautiful. ‘Hope’ carries on with this theme, but as soon as we get on to ‘Clueless And Dramatic’, Shinedown up the ante yet again!

‘Sure Is Fun’ is probably one of the weaker songs on the release, but it’s most certainly not bad in any way shape or form. The opening chords of ‘Daylight’ reminded me very much of their iconic track ‘Call Me’ back in 2007. Even though it doesn’t evolve into ‘Call Me’ mark II, it does provoke a similar emotion.

‘The Saints Of Violence And Innuendo’, just like ‘Planet Zero’ is another promotional track put out before the album’s release. This was obviously for good reason, as it’s an absolute belter!

‘Army Of The Underappreciated’ dives right back in to the punk rock theme of ‘No Sleep Tonight’, almost giving a Rise Against feel as a result. The last song on the album is ‘What You Wanted’, which is an alternative rock song, incorporating modern synth (almost pop?!) elements throughout. Shinedown continue on with the political themes here, talking about how the American government is severely corrupt.

Overall, this album is arguably one of the best from Shinedown. This could be a body of work that could stand alone as individual singles, yet they all come together to create the ultimate masterpiece! They are truly unafraid to talk about controversial topics and push boundaries musically, and that is what makes Shinedown stand out amongst the crowd.

‘Planet Zero’ is out now via Atlantic Records.

Verdict: 4/5

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