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Sevendust: Alpha

It is not common to find a band who sounds as fresh as their beginnings by the time that they hit their sixth album but such is the case with the one and only Sevendust. Now armed with a new label that is under their own creative control (the launched 7 Brothers, a division of Asylum Records) they present to their fans Alpha an album that will forever cement why they are one of the most exciting groups in not only Alternative Metal, but in the genre as a whole. Once again, you will hear that singer Lajon Witherspoon is totally on point and one of the better singers in this genre. On the latest albums, we have found him singing with intense levels of melody but he is not your typical growler or screamer by any margin. We get that from drummer Morgan Rose who provides the necessary angst and rage from behind his kit as he performs gravity defying technical patterns at the same time. In my humble opinion, he is what more Metal drummers should be like as his skills are always commendable and stylish. The pair works well as far as the dynamics go in Sevendust and this is prevalent across the record - but mostly in the closer of the title track "Alpha". The song "Beg To Differ" is definitely one that will set the crowd to fervor as one of their new favorites since the band once again shows how adept they are at fashioning a song that elicits crowd activity. On "Driven", there is a lot of the feel that we found them doing on their last album Next, a record that I felt did not get enough attention even though it has been met with largely positive reviews.

Alpha also finds their no longer new guitarist Sonny Mayo becoming a perfect fit alongside John Connolly, and sounding like this was the band that he was destined for. It's very simple to notice as you blast this CD out of the speakers that Sevendust has not slowed down much in the ten plus years they have been performing. Instead of remaining the same like some bands seem to do, they have matured musically and continued to experiment with the patterns of their style and stretch the melody to shapes that they are the masters of. I don't think any of their fans would be disappointed in the results here and if you are not a fan already this CD also offers you the perfect jumping on point, as it is that accessible. The growing popularity of Melodic Metalcore like All That Remains and Burn In Silence could have their fans becoming acolytes of Sevendust as well. Favorites for me included "Confessions Of Hatred" which is one of the more conventional Metal tracks and "Deathstar" which just lines you up for the knock down of Metal that you are going to get from this one. They also offer what I believe is their first epic number in "Burn", as this passes the nine minute mark. Sevendust has gained a large amount of popularity, and yet still seem to linger a little bit in the underground. Let's hope this provides a little more of a prominent view on a very talented and hard working band.

Track Listing
  1. Deathstar
  2. Clueless
  3. Driven
  4. Feed
  5. Suffer
  6. Beg to Differ
  7. Under
  8. Story Of Your Life
  9. Confessions Of Hatred
  10. Aggression
  11. Burn
  12. Alpha

Added: April 30th 2007
Reviewer: Ken Pierce
Related Link: Sevendust Website
Hits: 5114
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Sevendust: Alpha
Posted by Butch Jones, SoT Staff Writer on 2007-04-30 15:11:29
My Score:

I can still remember seeing an ad in Hit Parader magazine 1997 for Sevendust's first record. A black page with just the green Sevendust logo across the page. The only thing else on the page was produced by Jay Jay French & Mark Mendoza from Twisted Sister on the bottom of the ad. I was like, "what or who is Sevendust"? The question was in my head. Then I heard Black and it was a breath of fresh Metal air! What in the hell is this?! Heavy groove, brutal, and just pure amazing! Who knew that they would become the James Brown of Metal? The hardest working band in music. They picked up where Iron Maiden left off, with a year plus of touring, back into the studio and doing it all over again-they became true road dogs!

2007 marks the 10th anniversary of Sevendust and with the release of Alpha (7Bros/Asylum Records),their 6th studio release, they return to the glory days of their beginnings. They holed themselves back into the same old rehearsal space that they used to write and rehearse that famous debut, and emerged with a stripped down, back to basics CD. While it is NOT their debut, it IS a piece of groove art. It is more related to their second release, Home, than that of the first record. Gone are the acoustic guitars and the overly big and sometimes forced chorus' and replaced with more heart felt hooks and power. All of the Sevendust elements are intact. This is very much drummer Morgan Rose's record. His playing has always been awe inspiring, but he has upped his game to a new level. This CD will put Rose up a notch on drummer polls through out the world.

The departure of founding member and key songwriter, Clint Lowery, has been felt over the past releases, but the soul of Sevendust is still breathing a heavy breath. Replacement guitarist, Sonny Mayo (formerly of the band Snot) makes his second appearance on Alpha and seems to be more at home within the band now. Losing Lowery was an obvious bitter pill when it comes to Sevendust's music, but they have managed to keep the machine rolling along in the same "Sevendust" style. In other words, things have changed a bit, musically, but they are STILL Sevendust!!

Alpha is a 12 song concept record of sorts. It speaks of the torturous conflict of the question, "Can I possibly continue, or? The exploration of the recesses of the mind and personal revelations are what are heavily drawn upon in Alpha. The stage is set when CD opener "Deathstar" scares you from the word go, with singer LaJon barking those first words at you with the back up of the power that is Sevendust. "Clueless" is the second track and has a very Home era Sevendust feel, with a very heavy and grooving bridge. "Feed" is another classic slice of Sevendust, brutal and pulsating. Morgan Rose continues to deliver his now trademark vocal rant around and under LaJon's soul tinged throaty vocals. "Burn" is a change for Sevendust, clocking in at 9:02, it is their first 9 minute piece of work. Very emotional with manic depressive tendencies', "Burn" definitely takes you on a ride within the mind. CD closer, "Alpha" is a perfect way to end this release, full of angst, it ties up the disc with a great chaotic departure.

Back to their stripped down and raw ways, Alpha doesn't disappoint. While it is not their ground breaking debut, it is a super solid CD. Sevendust is a HUGE part of the resurgence of heavy music in the late to mid '90's and with this their 6th record, they continue to deliver the goods. With over 4 million records sold, it is hard to believe that Sevendust have yet to receive their just rewards. They are one of the most influential bands of the past 10 years and at the same time one of the most unrewarded bands of that time. Sevendust have again managed to weave their aggression and ferocity into a 12 track feast for the power groove fan.

It's time that this Cinderella gets their glass slipper!!

Sevendust: Alpha
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2007-02-28 08:05:35
My Score:

Let me get one quick rant out of the way first before I tackle Sevendust's latest, Alpha-I know record companies are getting paranoid about music copying and downloading, but don't they realize that supplying the media with promo copies with audio dropout every 30 seconds is not only annoying, but breaks the flow of the music and makes it very hard to really appreciate the release, let alone review it? Let's rethink this people, please...

On to Alpha we go, as Sevendust, showing that they are continually one of the hardest working bands on the modern metal scene, once again churn out a solid platter of melodic and aggressive music. While perhaps a little heavier and angst filled than their previous release Next, Alpha delivers on all fronts if you are a fan of the band, yet at the same time offers up nothing really new. There's plenty of bombastic and groove laden crunchers here, like "Feed" (sounding almost like Disturbed), 'Drive", and the catchy "Beg To Differ", the latter with some healthy mosh sections as well as a varied vocal attack from Lajon Witherspoon. The slow, grinding riffs of "Under" are super solid, and "Aggression" combines catchy melodies with beefy riffs and interesting vocal styles, something new from the band that might indicate a new direction in the future. Sevendust walk into long-form metal territory on the lengthy "Burn", and delivery typical metalcore rage on the caustic title track.

Overall, Alpha is a strong release from veterans Sevendust, but at the same time, other than a few flashes it really treads familiar ground. Not that this is a bad thing by any means, so if you are a tried and true Sevendust fan, there's no doubt that this release will hit all the right spots for you. However, if you were hoping that the band would break new ground, other than a few moments here and there this what you would expect from Sevendust.

» Reader Comments:

Sevendust: Alpha
Posted by Anonymous on 2007-02-10 01:49:58
My Score:

Just noticed with the review of this album and Chimaira's Resurrection. I haven't heard the new Sevendust disc, but I have heard Chimaira's new one. Thing is, the reviews contain no song descriptions, production comments are extremely general and overall, I don't feel like I've learned anything from reading the review. Do you guys actually listen to the albums you review?

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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