Shinedown wants to “tell the truth” with pandemic-influenced album, ‘Planet Zero’

Katja Ogrin/Redferns

When ABC Audio spoke with Shinedown‘s Brent Smith at the end of March 2020, we asked him if the band’s next album would be called Isolation or Quarantine — then two words the world was just learning about. His response? “I don’t think anybody’s ever gonna wanna talk about this. Ever.”

Two years later, Shinedown will release Planet Zero, a record that could not help but be influenced by what’s been going on in the world since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

“It ultimately was inspired by the last two years, that everybody on the planet Earth…what we’ve all dealt with,” Smith now tells ABC Audio.

Remembering back to those early days of the pandemic, Smith says that he and his band mates tried to “crystal-ball-method” writing new music.

“‘Let’s try and write three years from now,'” Smith recalls thinking. “‘No one’s going to want to talk about this, we’re going to want to move on.'”

“We attempted to do that,” he says. “But then everything just kept getting worse.”

The result became Planet Zero, a journey that reflects a world in crisis. For example, the record’s title track, which premiered earlier this week, is a reaction to media coverage of the pandemic.

“You can’t really tell who’s telling you the truth,” Smith says. “With the flip-flopping of everything that was going on, where certain outlets were, like, ‘Well it’s this.’ ‘Well, actually, no, it’s this.’ ‘Well, we thought it was this, but now it’s this.'”

“It’s about telling the truth,” he shares. “That’s what Planet Zero is about. Tell the truth.”

One thing Planet Zero does not do, though, is give up on humanity.

“There’s an empowerment to this album,” Smith says. “There’s a lot of triumph in this album.”

Planet Zero arrives April 22.

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