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Mudvayne @ Fillmore at Irving Plaza (12/16/2008)

Logo - Mudvayne

Artist: Mudvayne
Venue: The Fillmore NY (New York, NY)
Opener: 10 Years, Snot
Date: 12/16/2008
Label: Epic Records

Having seen them a number of times over the past couple of years, I had to say that with the show that Mudvayne puts on for their fans that they are worth checking out when they come to your town. Tonight’s fun would probably be my last Metal show of the year by the looks of it and it was the perfect closer to what amounted to be an incredible list of shows. December was quieter than some of the other months this year and I found it to be a bit of a reprieve in some sense. Last week we found In Flames visiting and that was fun and just this past weekend was the Trans-Siberian Orchestra who served up the Holiday heaviness in perfect order. Tonight’s Metal menu would not only feature Mudvayne, but also 10 Years and Snot. The fun would take place at The Fillmore NY and after some excellent pre-game hanging at the nearby Watering Hole, I would find myself with friends at a sold out venue. Here is how the story went for those of you who did not take part in it.
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“Alpha” by Sevendust

Artist: Sevendust
Title: “Alpha”
Label: Asylum/7 Bros Records
Release Date: 3/6/2007
Genre: Heavy Metal/Alt-Metal
Rating: 4/5

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.
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“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.
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