Sevendust hard hitting All I See Is War, is the group’s first for Rise Records, following-up 2015’s Kill The Flaw. The twelfth studio album from Sevendust forges another link between the band and its phalanx of fans who love their brand of heavy rock. The album inspired by division seen on the streets we walk and on social media, where we are often too quick to comment and react without a thought of the words that we are spewing out of our keyboards. We are from our lap all keyboard-warriors now.
As Connolly puts it, they simply “made a Sevendust record.” “We’re as polarized as we’ve ever been,” he continues. “Discussion is not happening. Everyone is so quick to snap online. We’re not listening. We’re just talking. In these songs, we don’t sugarcoat what’s going on. For as dark as the subject matter may be, it’s about hope. We know we can be in a better spot because we’ve seen so many different individuals come together around music.”
Opening the album with Dirty, a new record label, a new producer will this be a new Sevendust unfolding? Yes and no they are still the band fans love but there is a confidence a sense of direction and this will add more to the growing legions of fans around the globe. What strikes you is the sound, hard edge, gritty with an anger that is shaped and made sense of by Lajon’s vocals that cut through the driving drums and the guitar has a sharp leading edge on the first lead break of the album, promises that the twelve tracks will deliver rock that enthrals.
Opening tracks, often promise and then the second track you are left feeling that the album might not deliver. Not, in this case, God Bites His Tongue. Wow, vocals that are fulsome as the whole band head to a crescendo of sound with a relentlessness that ricochets out of the speakers and around the room and into your ears.
Now we are getting into the deep hardened grooves as we hear Medicated and Unforgiven we know that this is music that is edgy grinding rock that needs to be played loud.
Then a change with a fast guitar opening, the vocals take a gentler tone and drumming less intense. As Sickness kicks in with a different shape and almost ballad the melodic flow of the instruments augment the towering vocals of Lajon. This is not a ballad the lyrics are too piercing with a chorus that shapes the sickness – ‘You’re twisted, Hide the knife that’s beside you now.’ Follow that as the drum closes that number. Easy… the drums pick up and opens Cheers. Not a drinking song. Or one of praise They sing ‘ As we hold our own’, look after friends, and families through dark days. Cheers is a simple heartfelt thank you.
Risen is heavy and Moments is full of insane drumming from Morgan. Are we on a trajectory for the finale that will beat out the songs with relentless determination? No, we are taken down a simpler calmer route with Not Original. The sound is more electric and curls around the speaker cajoling you to listen to this new fresh that cleanses. Towards track Descend continues with a melodic riff and the words fill the speaker this is SEVENDUST experimenting growing and delivering rock that shapes your consciousness.
Life Deceives You, there is a hidden truth in the title and the tempo is being rebuilt as we are travelling musically to the final track of the album. The Truth closes out the album with signature SEVENDUST energy. The anger is back, despair the need to understanding that is missing from life captured in the lyrics. Why does it always seem to rain when I want to see sunshine? How come you never want to play the game?
On first listening, the album felt good, perhaps the drums too dominant at times. Ignore those first thoughts listen again. Then the album begins to gleam with a mix of driving bass lines, guitar riffs and breaks that are special and vocals that spit out lyrics that are relevant and have something to say. SEVENDUST delivers gleaming heavy rock that is a contemporary album picking up on modern themes we all should be thinking about, talking about and doing something about.
EIGHTdoodle paws out of TEN …
God Bites His Tongue
Life Deceives You
Lajon Witherspoon – lead vocals
Clint Lowery – lead guitar, backing vocals
John Connolly – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Vince Hornsby – bass
Morgan Rose – drums
Recorded Studio Barbarosa, Gotha Florida
Producer Michael “Elvis” Baskette (Alter Bridge / Slash)