THE [NEW] SHINING - SUPERNATURAL SHOWDOWN

Two things puzzle me about The [New] Shining. First of all, how can they possibly be this good on their debut album, and second of all, how are they from Holland? But don't you worry, I'm going to be discussing both of those during the course of the review of "Supernatural Showdown", an album that has taken me long to review because I wanted to be really sure before rating it high.

Lets initially deal with the Dutch thing. On the first spin, you're completely blown away by just how massively huge the album opener "Temptation" and its chorus sounds like. We're talking about colossal alternative rock riffing (think 3 Doors Down on steroids), and a voice that could easily fill stadiums with its echoing rock star holler, and this is done without a single scratch or dent in the clean voice. We're talking about a band who sounds so undeniably BillBoard Modern Rock chart that even after more than ten listens I'm having a hard time believing they originate from the Netherlands. Think Alter Bridge having an affair with 30 Seconds To Mars or something and you're pretty close.

Now lets move on to the matter of the quality demonstrated on this album. Song after song, the album boasts with songs perfectly capable of penetrating the charts in every country where Nickelback is doing well, even topping them in some instances. The first five songs all possess the qualities required for the label "great rock song": they are huge in sound, have stupendously big choruses, and have enough attitude and kick to keep the accelerated pace of the album going... until song six, where "Hurt" cuts the tempo by almost two thirds. While the six minute ballad song is touching, there's no way around the fact that it has roughly the same effect on the album as speeding your car into a brick wall. For six whole minutes we are left waiting for the pace to pick up again. I swear each and EVERY time I've listened to this album, I've always stumbled on "Hurt" and turned something else on. What makes things even worse is that what possibly constitutes as the album's single best song, "It's A Shame", is placed directly after the song. What an ironic title, because had "Hurt" been placed as the last track on the record, my guess is that 90% of the people who give "Supernatural Showdown" a listen would fall in love with the album. Had "Shadows In A Room", the one minute piano/acoustic ballad been there instead, things would've been much better indeed.

Later on in the album, "Stand Back" brings a heavier - dare I say post-grunge - element into the sound. I still find the echoing clean vocal choruses working much better for The [New] Shining than the Saliva / Lifehouse / Nickelback / (insert another similar band here) plagiarism. Just as the elevating verses a la Creed work much better than the boring ballads "Reason To Believe".

Quick final summary for those just skimming through: "Supernatural Showdown" starts out great. It demonstrates every reason why bands like Alter Bridge are topping the charts across the globe (because they write good songs, duh). It's so unfortunate, then, that the momentum is erased with a ballad all too early, from which the album never really recovers back to the real high ratings despite some great songs in the end.

Download: It's A Shame, Temptation, Red Eyes For the fans of: Alter Bridge, 3 Doors Down, Creed Listen: Myspace

Release date 18.04.2008 Flow Records