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| 21 November 2020 | Reply

Label: Rise Records

Release Date: October 23, 2020

Rating: 90%

Reviewer: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

Sevendust has been churning out modern radio rock records since their eponymous release in 1997.  The latest 13-track offering is no different… or is it?  This disc is full of more songs that will tie their catalog together with new material.  While the vibe and groove of the tunes is all Sevendust, there are flashes of growth musically that help take these guys to another level.  Disc opener “Dying To Live” takes a few seconds to kick in, but once that happens, we are thrust head first into that classic Sevendust sound that permeates everything they write and record.  From the heavy bottom end to the chugging riffs to Lajon Witherspoon’s vocals, this is familiar and new all at the same time.  This track sets a high bar for the rest of the disc.  “Love” delivers more killer rock, but with a totally different groove that gives these guys another sonic weapon in their arsenal.  The groove of the track is solid and the vocals top notch.  The real fun lay in listening to the tandem guitar sound, especially on the transitions and the bridge.  You cannot ignore the layered vocals on the choruses either.  “Feel Like Going On” is a beautiful track that pulls back on the and allows the bands individual talents as musicians to shine through while letting their sound culminate in a killer song that is as close as these guys get to what could be called a ballad.  I go back tot his one every time I listen through the disc.  “Kill Me” is a fun track that gives us a different glimpse into the band as song writers and performers.  This has familiar nuances of guitar, bass, drums, and vocals, but somehow has a different feel to it than a lot of the bands previous music.  The percussion pieces and fills from Morgan Rose add punch when needed and helps keep the track flowing.  “Desperation” has an incredible chugging riff ties to the track that keeps this song moving without sounding overdone or rehashed.  The guitar runs that are tossed into the mix give this one depth.  The layered vocals are awesome and add to the songs texture.  “Against The World” is a solid track that helps tie the new material to songs from the last 20+ years, with a vocal that shows off the rock and the rhythm, not to mention searing guitar leads, thumping bass lines, and  a heavy handed drum sound that supports the track.  Disc closer “The Day I Tried To Live” is a heartfelt tribute to Soundgraden’s Chris Cornell.  The band seems to dial into the original while adding their personal sound to it.  Don’t over analyze this one – just sit back, crank it up, and enjoy.

“Blood From A Stone” circles us back to the 7D sound we have all come to know and love over the years, thanks to the familiar vocals and the guitar work from both Clint Lowery and John Connolly.  The different textures woven into the song help this one stand on its own without standing out from the other dozen tracks on this collection.  “What You’ve Become” has the ebb and flow of other Sevendust tracks that have stood the test of time.  Lajon’s vocals are great on this song and help lead the charge, but the string attack of Connolly & Lowery cannot be ignored on the verses and bridge.  The foundation provided by drummer Rose and bassist Hornsby keep this track anchored without weighing it down.  Can’t wait to hear this one as part of a live set.  “Nothing Left To See Here Anymore” unfolds with a cool riff that morphs and twists as it works its way to the verse.  Can we talk about the vocals on this one?  We get a listen to some new textures and tones from Witherspoon while the band delivers a more than solid track that allows him to flex his vocal muscles without getting “too metal” on the song.  “Criminal” has an intro that builds from a single riff to the band coming together and adding to the discs musical landscape with this mild rocker that keeps the tempo up without turning into a runaway metal track.  The bands maturity is more evident on tracks like these, where they build a feeling and sound that is more than the normal fare without getting too hard for the song.  “Alone” is one of my favorite tracks vocally, as this one layers different textures and sounds as a base, not as a method to boost harmonies or the melody… it does that as well, but the sound comes across as larger than that.  The guitars carry on in the background while the rhythm section steadily steers the track without getting too heavy.  “Wish You Well” in another one that marries the past and present, while sounding fresh.  Connolly and Lowery shine without getting ahead of themselves on this track.  Be sure to listen for the few moments that Lajon seems to let loose a bit, while keeping his vocals tempered for the most part.  This album is a new favorite in my collection and I for one cannot wait to hear which of these tracks the band decides to swirl with their catalog for a live set when touring resumes.

Tracklisting: Dying To Live – Love – Blood From A Stone – Feel Like Going On – What You’ve Become – Kill Me – Nothing Left To See Here Anymore – Desperation – Criminal – Against The World – Alone – Wish You Well – The Day I Tried To Live

Lineup: Lajon Witherspoon (vocals) – Clint Lowery (guitars) – John Connolly (guitars) – Vince Hornsby (bass) – Morgan Rose (drums)






Category: CD Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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