The first Shinedown album I bought was The Sound of Madness, so Us And Them came as something of a pleasant surprise. Whereas Sound of Madness is a harder, edgier mix of metal, punk and classic rock, this one is classic rock pretty much all the way through. With a different guitarist on this earlier album, the guitar sound is noticeably different, mellower, even trippy and psychedelic in places and there are more solos.
1. The Dream:
A short intro featuring a young girl reciting a poem which runs into track 2.
A catchy, slow-paced rocker. A bluesy, southern-rock tinged number with shades of Lynyrd Skynyrd. 9/10.
3. Save Me:
A mid-tempo number with more emotional vocals from Brent Smith, rather than the roar of the previous track. Uses the classic "quiet verse, loud chorus" formula to good effect. More good guitar work on this one. 9/10
4. I Dare You:
Starts off with a quiet intro, the verse and bridge gradually building to a storming chorus. Brent shows off his full vocal range on this one. Also features some nice guitar flourishes. Arguably the best track on the album. 10/10.
5. Yer Majesty:
A heavier number with mid-tempo verses, switching to a faster bridge and chorus. A definite metallic edge to this one, with a thundering finish. 9/10
6. Beyond the Sun:
An immediate contrast to the previous track with a quiet, fragile intro and verses. A beautiful ballad, beefed up with a heavy chorus. Only let down by suspect guitar work in places. 8/10.
7. Trade Yourself In:
Keeping things interesting with another change of pace. Curious stuttering verses with a more conventional chorus. Good without being really memorable. 7/10.
8. Lady So Divine:
Another change of style - almost a pop-rock feel to this one, with clean, quietish verses and a light rock chorus. Changes to an atmospheric Eagles (or possibly Pink Floyd) style middle section which gives it a 70s feel, before reverting to pop-rock for the finish. Guitars given free reign on this one. A very mixed bag this one but enjoyable. 8/10.
9. Shed Some Light:
Continues the eclectic feel of the album, being an acoustic ballad. Works well until Brent goes into "rock mode" towards the end, which doesn't do the song any favours. 6/10.
10. Begin Again:
Has a distinct nu-metal feel to it with downtuned guitars. Starts off well, but descends into an awful cacophony about midway through and Brent trying to scream like a nu-metal singer. Doesn't really work for me. 5/10.
Things pick up again with the band back in hard rock territory. Melodic, catchy and features some nifty guitar work. Another favourite of mine. 9/10.
A slightly schizophrenic song, with thumping hard-rock verses and bridge that sit uncomfortably next to a softer, more melodic chorus. An interesting reversal of the normal formula, but it seems to put the song off-kilter and a rather tame finish doesn't help. 6/10.
13. Some Day:
A great closing track. Another "quiet verse, loud chorus" song. Probably best described as a power ballad. 8/10.