Always slightly overlooked by many as they got swept along with the saturation of nu-metal in the early 2000s, it’s a great testament to their resilience that Sevendust have managed to stand the test of time where many other bands have fallen in their wake.
They now return with album number twelve, (yes, twelve) in All I See is War which sees them raise their game with an obvious effort to somewhat re-invent the alt-metal sound which has actually served them pretty well for way over two decades.
Their first album for Rise Records, this time the band have enlisted the renowned Michael ‘Elvis’ Baskette (Alter Bridge, Trivium) on production duties, primarily brought in to help with the re-engineering process and give the band a new edge.
Overall, they’ve pretty much achieved what they set out do, and the addition of Baskette’s layered production definitely helps the band reach places they haven’t been before. It’s a consistent, solid and measured sounding album with some great moments, and it’s arguably the band’s most accomplished work to date.
Stand out first single “Dirty” kicks things off in typical brutal fashion. It’s an explosive and powerful opener and one of the best things they’ve done in years. The pounding aggressiveness of old Sevendust melded with the new more melodic and polished band of 2018. A definite statement of intent.
“God Bites His Tongue” brings the pace down slightly but with Lejon Witherspoon’s soulful, soaring vocal delivery continuing the disgruntled socio-political commentary which encompasses the whole album. Throughout there’s a sense of honesty and stark truth which comes across well without sounding too preachy.
There’s an uplifting and epic quality to this set of songs in general which is surprising when you consider the majority of the tracks clock in at under four minutes.
“Medicated” (check it out below) brings us an additional melancholic edge with its counter-play between Clint Lowery’s riffdom and some inspiring piano led parts while tracks like “Unforgiven” and “Risen” remind us that it’s still ok to just throw your fist in the air sometimes.
Obvious next single and album highlight “Moments” epitomises the whole album. From the keys intro to the grooving riffs, the grandiose vocals of the massive chorus, the thought provoking lyrical tone and a couple of typical Morgan Rose screaming background lines thrown in for good measure, it shows all sides of Sevendust 2018.
As the balladesque second single “Not Original”, apparently inspired by the Netflix show Stranger Things, ends and the album starts to wind down to a logical conclusion it’s clear that this is a band brimming with confidence and not about to let up any time soon.
This is a brilliantly crafted record that packs a punch where it matters. There can’t be many other bands in alt-metal that sound this good after twelve albums? Roll on album thirteen.