Sevendust - Home
You do wonder at the mentality of the industry sometimes. There was a review of Sevendust's debut way back in something like issue 3 of Yaz, nearly 2 years ago. It still ain't been released in the UK. And now this, their second album is out. Now, they may not sell millions, or whatever is regarded as millions in this country, but it's certainly a very good debut. You'd think someone would want to release it. Oops, forgot. We're talking good idea in an industry where good ideas are frowned upon. So anyway, that's me having a moan. Hows about we have a spin of this disc instead?
First impression is that nothing has really changed much. And I don't know if that's good or bad? It's good, cos it means that we have some nice hard hitting metal, chock full of thrash based riffs. Bad because some of the parts that stopped the debut from becoming a great album in my opinion haven't been changed, or put to use as I'd hoped that maybe they would. What's that? Well, for one I'd have loved them to up the tempo a couple of times to match the riffs. I just like speed at times - steady, that's not a confession. And so many bands, including Sevendust, have riffs that I think just deserve that bit more oomph in the rhythm section. At the moment thereís too many fractured riffs in search of a song, such as on the opener and title track Home, or Headtrip. Itís not fluid enough. Thereís still some good songs like Reconnect and Rumblefish, but this is a band that I reckon could do better generally.
The other thing is almost in the other direction, in that the bands major weapon is the vocals of Lajon who for me doesn't quite push the boundaries of his voice and explore the soulful sound that I think he's capable of anywhere near enough. Which means everything is solid, and builds from the debut. BUT, I just think there's something just a little more hiding within them somewhere.
The likes of Denial marks out what this band is about. Heavy, hints of you know what metal, but breaking down into a melodic yet still heavy chorus, sung in a way that none of the other bands want to do anymore. I guess itís somewhat more traditional then, but when they get it right and do it as well as one this track, then why not? Thereís nothing wrong with a good old thrash like riff, and that essentially is what builds many of their songs. The collaboration with Skin on Licking Cream also stands out, partly because although thereís another one of those big riffs there, they donít sacrifice the song for it, instead itís part of it. Yeah, that may sound like a dumb obvious kind of statement, but itís how this album feels too often. Lets do a great riff. Oh song, you wanted a song as well? Grasp works well and Crumbled is saved mainly by the big stomping chorus.
First impressions can be misleading. I think thereís often a really good argument for not actually reviewing an album until youíve lived with it for three or four months. Because for me itís amazing how many albums Iíve initially thought were utter shite become near classics after a while, and conversely albums I initially thought were great have no longevity, no staying power in the stereo. So Iíve had this now four or five months as it was actually an album left over from YAZ 11. So has it improved for me over that period of time? No, not really. I can listen to it ok, because itís a solid album, but itís not inspirational enough for me to reach for it in those rare moments where Iíve got time to just listen to something for the sheer relaxing pleasure of it. Solid, but Sevendust are a better band than this CD suggests.
So a bit disappointing for me personally, but full marks to them though, for not pissing around. 41 minutes, no hidden "bonus" track or any of that pretentious bollocks. And a nice tribute to Lynn Strait and Dobbs under the CD.
Available on TVT Records, and I believe it may well have an official domestic release here by now.
Today Is The Day - In The Eyes Of God
Apparently this is their fifth album. And since buying Temple Of The Morning Star I've never been able to find any others. And I want them. Cos that album was brutal and strange and different, and I remember when I first bought it thinking how much scarier and pushing of the boundaries it was in comparison to Marilyn Manson. So I've been waiting a while for this, and now it's here. Time to savour.
And this is evil. I mean, put it on and listen with headphones. The voices, the distortion and the way it's put together really does sound make it sound like there's voices going on in your head. A nice effect, especially on the brooding Going To Hell which winds its way through 7 minutes of hell. The bass drum sound is one of those which literally sounds like it's simply bouncing. No deep resonance, just a bounce, and it drives everything on. Spotting A Unicorn is the first of the somewhat shorter songs, clocking in at just over a minute (well there are 20 songs on this 50 minute album).
Some of the names leave you wondering what exactly this band is on, and doesn't help in trying to get a grip on their sound and what they're like. I mean, there's one called The Russian Child Porn Ballet. Come on, what's that all about? You describe what a band with a track called that is going to sound like. I mean, there's elements of death metal in here (indeed, it's the section it was classified in when I bought it in Select-a-disc). But then Martial Law has a pretty melodic guitar line running through it, well for at least part of the song. But title of the year? Well how about The Cold Harshness of Being Wrong Throughout Your Entire Life. Didn't actually see a dedication to Marilyn Manson on that one but .... oooh harsh Dave, harsh.
If you like your stuff extreme, then it doesnít come much better than this. Itís genuinely a band that could scare you by the sounds they make, but importantly they have diversity. They can give you atmosphere, complexity, terrifying screams, grind and pace, quite often in the same song. A prime example being Argali. Itís not easy listening, certainly not pleasant listening. Itís not supposed to be. This is a challenge to your aural senses. Thereís even some passing resemblance to singing in Whoís The Black Angel? before they up the tempo and Austin once more sounds like heís swallowed the microphone and the noises are emanating from his very bowels. And if youíre not completely at ease with extreme music, youíll have to pick your moments. Result all round then really.
And they can do it live as well, which is scary.