Article by PJ Cornell.

Syndicated from the Asterisked Music Journal.

Overall assessment: 10 out of 10.

Bottom line up front: this album is a positively flawless accomplishment on the part of the numetal giant, Shinedown.  If this album doesn’t inspire you to take to the streets waving angry signs around, or yelling out of a bullhorn, to tell your family and friends how much you love them, and wake up each morning trying to find new ways to do what others before you only dreamed of doing, then nothing will.  When tyrants and misanthropists go to Hell, they will be forced to listen to this album over and over again, existing with the eternal realization that this is the essence of the human spirit which they tried to suppress and crush.

Highlights: The lyrics of these songs are consistently on point.  «No one’s gonna cry on the very day you die; you’re a bully.»  «You got the world on it’s knees, you’re taking all that you please; you want more!  But you’ll get nothing from me you’re like the burden we bear; you’re all the hate that we share; you want more!  But you’ll get nothing from me but enemies!»  «So have you ever been caught in a sea of despair, and your moment of truth is the day that you say ‘I’m not scared?'»  «I like to stare at the sun and think about what I’ve done.  I lie awake in my great escape.  I like crossing the line and slowly losing my mind.  Are you ok?  ‘Cause I feel fine.»  Simply amazing.  There is not a single song on this album that isn’t excellent, but my personal favorite is I’m not Alright, which is a delightfully iconoclastic song which takes sharp jabs at the simpering pricks who would like to label anyone with backbone and heart as insane.

Criticisms: None.

Conclusion: This is that rare album that will actually make you a better person the more you listen to it.  If you enjoy rock or metal even a little bit, then I vehemently recommend that you get a hold of a copy of this album.  This is probably the best album in the genre to have been published in 2012.  This is a metal masterpiece.