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Sevendust: Next

Sevendust have been one of the longest running of the so called "nu-metal" bands that emerged over the last decade, and their fifth album Next continues on in their tradition of releasing solid material that transcends the genre. In addition to five strong album releases, Sevendust's songs have graced many a movie soundtrack, and the band has toured with the likes of Slipknot, Drowning Pool, andMudvayne, among many others. While the band is very good at down-tuned metal thumpers like "Pieces" and "Hero", it's the more ballady numbers that really open your eyes on Next. The CD's first single, "Ugly", is an intriguing and thoroughly enjoyable piece that kicks off with some doomy chugging riffs before singer Lajon Witherspoon croons the catchy & melodic chorus, a memorable bit that stays with you and prompts repeated hits on the replay button. It's songs like this, the mix of metal thunder and melodic pop that really works for this band. Other tracks in this vein are "This Life", a great choice for a second single that is all pop ballad and no metal to speak of, and the atmospheric & catchy hard rock of "See and Believe".

Fret not though, if you dig Sevendust's brand of manic metal with a huge bottom end, there's plenty of that here. "Silence" is one heavy number, with huge down-tuned guitar riffs and Witherspoon's snarling vocals, and "The Last Song" follows suit, complete with textured guitar chords from the guitar duo of John Connolly & Sonny Mayo to go along with a mix of screaming & clean vocals, and pounding rhythms. Funky yet heavy wah-wah guitars meet Witherspoon's melodic vocals on the addicting rocker "Desertion", a style that also works on the crunchy yet catchy "Failure". The band hits some industrial tones on "Never", and ends the CD with the anguished "Shadows in Red", a dark acoustic number with a great vocal from Witherspoon.

I'd say Sevendust are ready to break out of that "nu-metal" tag with the release of Next. This album is less about youthful angst and endless riff-o-rama and more about songs, melodies, and catchy metal riffs. There are a host of songs that could break big on rock radio given the chance, so let's see what happens.

Track Listing
1. Hero
2. Ugly
3. Pieces
4. Silence
5. This Life
6. Failure
7. See and Believe
8. The Last Song
9. Desertion
10. Never
11. Shadows In Red

Added: January 29th 2006
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Sevendust Website
Hits: 3313
Language: english

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Sevendust: Next
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-01-28 15:55:06
My Score:

Sevendust returns in a triumphant fashion with two drastic changes to their existence. The first major change is the switching of record label from longtime TVT Records to the Winedark Records family of artists. This was interesting as the band had recorded Next on their own with no label until meeting the Winedark folks. The second major change is the addition of Sonny Mayo (former Snot) on guitar. He is great for the lineup and now there is an even fuller sound to their music. He also seems to fit right in with the rest of the group in their style of playing. For those that have not followed Sevendust before this new album is the perfect jumping on point. In its content are a number of fist-pumping head bangers as well as some truly moving tracks. The CD draws you in quick with "Hero" and showcases the power of Lajon Witherspoon right off the bat. He is accompanied by the maniacal shrieks of drummer Morgan Rose and on top of this there is such a great sense of harmony in all the songs in general. Switching dynamics from hard edged to softer is unheard of in "Nu Metal" groups and for too long I feel Sevendust has been lumped into this category. There might be some "Nu" styling, but overall this is a great Metal band with killer guitar work and drumming. Tracks like "This Life" and "Failure" are impressive and not what I expected from Sevendust at all since they lean more towards the power ballad side. "Shadows In Red" is perhaps the most subtle number on the album with a more acoustic feel. It's a great chance to see the capabilities of these guys and a fine example of their musical maturity. However should slow numbers not win you over there is a severe ass-kicking in tracks like "The Last Song" and "Pieces". There is a lot of great guitar by John Connolly to enjoy on these songs especially. Their overall intensity really makes you want to be in the pit while they are performed. As you listen to "Silence" and "Ugly" you will feel that they should be on the radio stations that feature heavy music because they are that accessible.

Included in this CD is a bonus DVD that features some great interview commentary from the members of the band as well as some footage from the rehearsal/recording studio. There is also a nice selection of photos from the sessions that made up the recording process. Even the new fan can enjoy this content as it gives some insight to where the band had been and what they are aiming for. This is a great CD to take a chance on and I am saying this as someone who did not follow the group before. I am glad I finally paid attention and cannot wait for the "Next".

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