Singer Brent Smith of SHINEDOWN, which plays melodic hard rock heavily indebted to grunge bands of the early 1990s, says that he has also drawn influence from the era's more extreme metal acts, including some that most people wouldn't associate with his group.
"I'll just say it straight up, man — a lot of it had to do, for metal, for me and the beginning phase of that where I really started to look at it from a 'wow' factor was the day I heard 'Vulgar Display Of Power' by PANTERA," he told Metal Injection in a new interview. "That just completely shifted everything for me. First of all, I never heard a record sound like that, and I'd never heard like the lyrical content. They kind of went from 'Cowboys From Hell', which I didn't really listen to at all — I didn't really know who PANTERA was until 'Vulgar Display Of Power'. I'll never forget my favorite lyric in that record is in the song 'Regular People' where Phil [Anselmo] goes, 'Most regular people would say it's hard, but any streetwise son of a bitch knows don't fuck with this.' And I just thought that was one the most amazing, most poetic things I ever heard. It just happened to be from this incredible metal band.
"Going back a ways, from an instrumental type outlook on certain things — not that we use a lot of it — but the band DEATH," he continued. "A lot to do with the fact that the bass player used a fretless bass. And I remember thinking, 'Why does DEATH sound completely different than all these other death metal bands?' And you find out [about the] musicianship and what all went into that stuff. Some people think that it's just noise, and it's the furthest thing from noise. That's a totally different level.
"PANTERA definitely was a huge part of that from the more extreme side, and definitely DEATH, Brent added. "As I get deeper and deeper into things, sometimes people don't agree with this, but TOOL had a big influence on me. The earlier TOOL stuff, though. When they got prog, it didn't throw me off, but 'Undertow' is definitely my record. Some people don't consider that a metal record, but I do. I mean, it's all how you look at it. But that 'Undertow' record was a huge influence on me."
SHINEDOWN is continuing to tour in support of its latest album, "Attention Attention", which came out last year. The follow-up to 2015's "Threat To Survival" marked SHINEDOWN's first full-length effort to be produced entirely by bassist Eric Bass. The 14-song release tells the story of a character who starts out defeated and slowly overcomes pain and personal struggles and becomes confident at the end.
SHINEDOWN's "Get Up" single went to No. 1 on the mainstream rock chart in December and crossed over to the alternative and adult contemporary charts.
SHINEDOWN has had 14 top singles in its 18-year run. That's second most in the mainstream rock chart's history, breaking a tie with VAN HALEN.