Amid an unprecedented two years, Shinedown is looking to the future with Planet Zero.
The seventh studio album from the "45" rockers reflects the band members' experiences in and view of the world as it grappled with the COVID-19 pandemic. While that wasn't the record they originally set out to make, it became the only one they felt they could make.
"With this pandemic, with everything that has transpired in these last two years, we [started] saying, 'Hey, let's write a fantasy,' like, 'This never happened!'" frontman Brent Smith tells ABC Audio. "It was very, very apparent very quickly ... that was not gonna happen."
"We're not wired not that way," he continues. "We have to tell, at least in our opinion, our truth."
Smith is not coy about the metaphor of Planet Zero, sharing that the album's titular planet is meant to represent "the planet we're on right now." Instead of hiding an "It was Earth all along!" twist, Planet of the Apes style, Smith hopes that Planet Zero can be a "blueprint of how to move forward."
"At least in our opinion," Smith clarifies.
He adds, "Because [the world] went back to zero, I don't wanna say that it's a do-over for society and the human race, but, the future is ours."
With its weighty ambition and subject matter, Smith says that Planet Zero ended up being the "most difficult" album he's recorded.
"But it's also, in my personal opinion, it's the record I'm most proud of," he says.
Planet Zero is out now.