It almost seems ridiculous now to refer to Sevendust as “alt-metal” or “nu-metal,” as they were pegged upon the release of their self-titled debut album back in 1997. Being unfairly lumped in with bands like Korn and Limp Bizkit didn't help, as it was clear Sevendust was not privy to the rap-core, baggy pants frat boy party to which some of those bands were perennial invitees. Sevendust was a no-frills chaos machine of vented frustration and various color swaths of leveled emotion – this is a band without anthems, just exposed nerves.
On this, their ninth studio album, Sevendust again benefits from the reunion with original guitarist Clint Lowery, who re-joined the ranks on the band's last album, “Cold Day Memory,” after a six-year absence. With Lowery, the guttural guitar team of Lowery and John Connolly make the foundations rumble: dropped tunings that melt away categorization – a truly unique brand of “low.” Tracks like “Faithless” are ripe with the sinister syncopation riffing and butcher-chopped time signatures the band does so well, while frontman Lajon Witherspoon plays master of the dark melody. With soaring reflections of past pain, Witherspoon vocalizes how he “found my way, through the eyes of hell,” while he later viciously urges, “Don't throw it away” – an homage to living life after affliction.
The album's dark qualities are on full display in tracks like “Dead Roses” and “Decay;” the former containing lyrics dismayed by “all love completely erased,” while “Decay” features guitar effect from some haunted netherworld amid Witherspoon's cautionary tale against societal greed (“Don't feed the selfish mouth of man”). The almost dehumanization found in the album's grimy closer, “Murder Bar,” is truly what sets Sevendust apart from its contemporaries. “Scrape that blood off your face, life's ripping away your failing system” is the inflammatory battle cry here; the band seeks to provoke real awareness while cleansing its own demons with a sense of ominous, brutality 'n' beauty musicality.
Sevendust have never sounded darker or angrier, yet they inspire hope to the everyman's lost soul.
Sevendust 'Black Out the Sun' Rating: W W W W