“Next” by Sevendust

Artist: Sevendust
Title: “Next”
Label: Winedark Records
Release Date: 10/11/2005
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 8/10

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”.

Track List:
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

Official Web site: www.sevendust.com

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