Review by Paul Monkhouse for MPM
Released last year, Sevendust’s thirteenth album ‘Blood and Stone’ was confirmation that the Atlanta quintet still have the fire and chops some twenty-six years after first forming, the band refining their sound and getting bigger by the year.
Full of numbers that alternatively caressed and took your heads clean off, it was critically acclaimed and welcomed with open arms by their growing legion of fans who’ve become addicted to their mix of soulful delivery and blistering heaviness.
For some, it was the perfect album, so how do you improve on it? Well, the answer is to add three remixes and two brand new songs, making this a vital purchase for not just the already committed but the new listeners, interested in seeing what all the buzz has been about.
Looking back, when the album came out, you can still be open mouthed at both its range and power, Sevendust constantly moving forward as they expand their style and dip into new areas that show they aren’t afraid to risk perceived commercial popularity in their pursuit of what is right artistically. This was no sudden left turn in style though, just adding new layers onto their already ferocious armory.
Numbers like opener ‘Dying to Live’ capture the band at their most visceral best, the industrial strength riffs and pounding drums and bass slamming you against the wall as Lajon Witherspoon’s soulful voice flies over it all. Within the space of the first few tracks the band go from this to the loping and uplifting ‘Love’, the brutally metallic ‘Blood from A Stone’ and onto the gentle and gorgeously melodic ‘Feel Like Going On’, displaying their range.
There’s a style here that sets them apart from their contemporaries, whilst their roots appear to be in Nu Metal, they’ve gone from that restrictive label and now unfairly derided subgenre to something a lot more global, set apart by their songwriting and Witherspoon’s vocals.
The rest of the band certainly are no slouches either, the eviscerating lead guitar of Clint Lowery, along with the rhythm work of John Connelly and the double threat of bass player Vince Hornsby matched with Morgan Roses’ drums bring their own nuances and uncaged power.
The full weight of the quintet is brought to bear in ‘What You’ve Become,’ the heft and global conquering reach of something that would be perfect for the next Marvel blockbuster running through every note and ‘Kill Me’ glories in its switch between a delicate guitar pattern and brute force.
Elsewhere, the massive groove of ‘Criminal’, a toweringly powerful ‘Against the World’ and the dynamic light and shade of ‘Alone’ all compete for album highlights but it’s the double killer blow of closers ‘Wish You Well’ and ‘The Day I Tried’ that seal the deal.
Whilst the electricity and barbed wire maelstrom of the former is overwhelming, it’s the tribute to the late Chris Cornell that is the most affecting, the Soundgarden classic done with both heaps of heart and naked muscle.
Of the additional tracks, three are remixes and there’s the added attraction of two freshly penned outings. The Jake Bowen take on ‘Dying to Live’ and Richard Wicander’s ‘Kill Me’ take a wonderfully chilled route but Justin de Blieck turns ‘What You’ve Become’ into a ‘Games of Thrones’ style epic, complete with swelling strings.
All I Really Know’ and ‘What You Are’ both cram in enough sledgehammer riffing, massive choruses, and huge melodies the justify their inclusion, standing proudly alongside the original album. ‘Blood and Stone’ shows without any shadow of a doubt that Sevendust are not just ready for the big league, but already there.
Sevendust’s new song “What You Are” comes from their new album ‘Blood & Stone DELUXE’ – out now. Buy/stream at https://riserecords.lnk.to/BloodStone…