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Chapter VII: Hope and Sorrow

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Sevendust are back with their seventh studio album, Chapter VII: Hope & Sorrow, produced by Sean Groove, Morgan Rose & John Connolly. The release will be their second on the band’s wholly owned record label, 7Bros. Records under Warner Music Group’s Asylum/Independent Label Group. For the first time since Animosity (2001), the band has collaborated with outside artists, including Chris Daughtry and members of Alterbridge. First single, ”Prodigal Son”, will be impacting Active and Mainstream Rock radio on February 10th, with a video soon to follow. Sevendust will be touring in support of the album throughout the year. The March 2007 release of Alpha, the bands sixth studio album and first on 7Bros. Records, saw Sevendust equal their highest Billboard album ranking of their career with a first week debut at #14 on the Billboard Top 200, selling 42,398 copies. With even more radio hits packed into the new album, Sevendust looks forward to continuing to raise the bar.

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  • Right now this is one of my two favorite new cd’s. The other being In Flames “A sense of Purpose.”I’d say with a little more time this album could have been that much better, but like all Sevendust albums it’s still quite good. They throw in quite a bit of variety which I love. There are also more guitar solos than any other Sevendust album, as far as I remember. On a scale of of 1-10 I’d give this a solid 7 maybe 8. I’m enjoying this one more and more every time I hear it.

    Inside – this one has an intro that goes on a little too long for my taste, but when the song gets going it’s one of my favorites on the album. It’s a kind of alpha-esque song with a solid riff and good drum beat. Probably the heaviest song on the album. I wish they had expanded on the bridge a little and maybe put an instrumental break, but still it’s a great song. 9/10

    Enough – This one’s a decent enough rocker. I don’t have a whole lot to say about it except that it’s an enjoyable song. 7/10

    Hope – This is probably my favorite song, either this or inside. Musically I think it’s the most diverse on the album. I like the main riff and the solo. The stringed instruments during the solo were cool as well. 10/10

    Scapegoat – This one has kind of quieter verses with some electronics and a heavy very catchy chorus. Some of the lyrics in this one for me are a bit… but I’m a sucker for a catchy chorus and it is still a good song. 8/10

    Fear – Another good song. This one like Enough I don’t have a whole lot to talk about. It’s kind of a mid-tempo rocker with some cool musical pieces thrown in 7/10

    The Past – My least favorite song on the album, not because of the writting. The song is well written. It’s an acoustic song. I just can’t get into Daughtry’s voice. It reminds me too much of the guy from Shinedown. Still it’s not a bad song and right now I’m not minding hearing it. 6/10

    Prodigal Son – A mid-tempo rocker that I really like. There’s just something about the vocals in this one that I really like. Something about them just sound different from what Lajon has done in the past, but I can’t put my finger on it. There’s also a short, but decent solo. 8/10

    Lifeless – This one’s a little faster than a mid-tempos song. It’s a rocker with a quieter chorus. There’s also another decent guitar solo. I hope they keep using solos from now on. 8/10

    Sorrow – This one’s another slower one with the lead singer from Alter Bridge. Yesterday at work I had this one going through my head. I like the main riff. They use a cool effect, I think it’s either a chorus or flange, but it’s been a long time since I’ve played with guitar effects so I can’t remember. Kennedy’s voice sounds different than I remember on any Alter bridge album. I hope for their next one he uses this style for a song or two. 8/10

    Contradiction – This is another of my favorites. This is another rocker. I like the chorus it’s kind of different from a typical Sevendust chorus. 9/10

    Walk Away – This is another solid track and a good album closer. There’s more screaming in this one than any other song except maybe for Inside. 9/10

    I’d review the bonus tracks as well, but I don’t feel like it. I’ll just say that they’re pretty solid as well. You’ve got Lucky One and Disgust which are heavier and Heart in your hands which is slower. Still they’re enjoyable.

    This may not be my favorite Sevendust Album, but it’s certainly not a bad one.

    I think most Sevendust fans will find this one a good addition to their collection.

    Posted on March 11, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • This band has struck gold yet again with their new album. It is amazing how LJ can put out another album only a few months after their last release and be better than last. I will have to say that Scapegoat is by far my favorite song on this album. I am glad Clint is back with Sevendust. Alot of people critize him for leaving Sevendust but I understand why he left, he want to try something different with his brother. Can’t wait to see them touring the new album.

    Posted on March 11, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I’m one of the rare Sevendust fans who doesn’t buy the Cubs/White Sox-like dichotomy that you can only like Sonny Mayo’s or Clint Lowery’s guitarwork. This is Sonny’s final album with Sevendust, and it is for the most part excellent.

    That said, too much attention goes to the Sonny/Clint thing. John Connolly is an excellent guitarist by any standard, and Vinnie Hornsby on bass is utterly insane in the best bassist kind of way. While Morgan Rose’s powerful drumming and backing vocals and Lajon Witherspoon’s sometimes-raging sometimes-gentle vocals often take center stage, John and Vinnie together form the solid sinews of each song, whether with Sonny, Clint or any of their guest instrumentalists. That kind of flexibility for a rhythm duo should not be passed up.

    To the album itself:
    “Chapter VII” is the most brooding and mood-changing album since “Animosity”. It reflects the band’s maturity and that they are consummate artists – something that may not be appreciated by fans who stopped listening after the viciously good “Home” or who didn’t tune in until the mainstream-friendly but deliciously experimental “Seasons”.

    Where “Alpha” was pure aggression (listening to the title song is like kickboxing on four shots of espresso), “Chapter VII” remains agitated but is consciously brooding and sometimes defiant.

    “Inside” is an awesome opening track (though I would have put “Enough” later in the album, since it shares the same energy and made me wonder whether they were two movements on the same theme). I can picture the lights slowly coming up as Morgan’s drumming agitates further to the driving guitar crescendos, followed by Lajon’s terse argument and his more melodic self-rebuttal as John, Vinnie and Sonny blend into a tempo change that at once foretells and anticipates the complex harmony at the core of the song.

    “Hope” is, ironically, the darkest song on the album, though Mark Tremonti’s guitar work adds a stunning narrative that makes me wonder if the band will tap him if Lowery takes on another project. There’s something in the pacing of “Scapegoat” that doesn’t seem to mesh as well with other tracks; “Prodigal Son” is the opposite – strongly driven by Lajon’s own vocal rhythm. “Lifeless” and “Walk Away” are both masterful and let each member of the band shine – blends of minor and power chords, alternatingly intense and soulful drumming, shifting bass lines that both lead and drive the melody, and Lajon’s incredibly expressive range.

    In short, “Chapter VII” is an excellent album that, while not as singles-friendly as “Animosity” or “Next”, holds together in a cohesion that good albums should and rare albums do.

    Posted on March 11, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Let’s get one thing out of the way right now: A few of my fellow reviewers have said that anyone giving this new album from Sevendust five stars is only doing so because it is new material from the band. While that may be the case with some folks on here, it certainly is not with me. I just happen to think that Chapter VII: Hope and Sorrow is excellent and my new personal favorite of the last four they have released. In due time, it just might replace Animosity as my favorite of all of their albums. (I know, I know…blasphemy!) Thinking that does not make my review any less “honest” than someone who gives it three stars for the opposite reasons. If you don’t like the new record as much as 7D’s previous releases, that’s fine, but implying that anyone who gives it a perfect rating is misguided somehow only makes you look like the musical elitists that you aren’t.

    That said, onto reviewing the album. I apologize in advance for how long this will be.

    Chapter VII is, without a doubt, a progression from the band’s previous release, Alpha. Much as I love that album, it had too many songs that tried to be heavy just for the sake of being heavy. In other words, they had very little melody and what melody there was didn’t help make the song very listenable. I’m talking about songs like “Deathstar,” “Beg To Differ,” “Story Of Your Life,” and most definitely “Alpha.” The same can be said for a handful of tracks from the Next record, including “Hero,” “Pieces,” “Silence,” and “The Last Song.” Now don’t get me wrong, I love a heavy Sevendust song as much as the next guy. But it seemed like on these songs the band tried a little too hard to emphasize just how heavy they can be, and personally I think it didn’t do them any favors outside of performing them live, where heavier songs always sound better. If anything, Alpha was more or less “Next Part Deux” to me. The way I see it, Sevendust are at their best when their albums strike that perfect balance between beauty and brutality, and this new release does just that, not unlike the nearly seven-year old Animosity.

    The album kicks off with “Inside,” one of the many songs on the record that I consider to be absolutely perfect in every respect. It is followed by “Enough,” which although good doesn’t quite stack up to its predecessor. “Hope” and “Scapegoat” are next, and they pick the album right back up on the note that “Inside” left off at. The chours and guitar solo (courtesy of Alter Bridge’s Mark Tremonti) on “Hope” are particularly noteworthy; the chorus being one of the most powerful of Sevendust’s career in my opinion. Probably the best and most passionate screaming I’ve ever heard Morgan do, and that’s really saying something. “Fear” is my least favorite track on the album. I’m not saying it’s bad, but there’s just nothing really special about it. “The Past,” a song which Chris Daughtry contributes his powerful pipes to, is in a word incredible. Definitely one of the better collaborations the group has done. (I think I’m the only person I know who DIDN’T like Chino Moreno’s guest vocals on “Bender” from the Home album. Sorry guys; I think his voice just sucks.)

    “Prodigal Son,” the song chosen as the album’s first single, is the funky and soulful side of Sevendust we have all come to know and love over the years. I defy any of you to not have the chorus stuck in your head after listening to it a couple of times (or to at least to not start saying “I’m comin’ on like an elephant gun!” at the most random times). “Lifeless” is another stunner, especially in the pre-chorus when the music tones down and Lajon sings beautifully. “Sorrow,” the group’s collaboration with Alter Bridge frontman Myles Kennedy (another one of the most powerful voices in rock today), is right up there with Aaron Lewis’ performance on “Follow” in my opinion. He definitely has a better range and sense of melody than Lewis. “Contradiction” reminds me of what “Rumble Fish” from the Home album would sound like if the band wrote it today, and that certainly isn’t a bad thing. The closing track on most copies of this album, “Walk Away,” is the true epic here. Over six minutes in length, and while it might not be as diverse in composition as “Burn” from Alpha, it is just as good. I say most copies because I bought mine at Best Buy, and it includes two bonus tracks, “Lucky One” and “Heart In Your Hands.” The former doesn’t do much for me and I don’t rate it any higher than “Fear,” but the latter is classic Sevendust through and through. Melodic, soulful, and heavy in all the right places.

    Everyone in the band is in top form here, particularly Lajon and Morgan, whose drumming is somewhat, dare I say it, Vinnie Paul-esque this time around. The man continues to impress me more with every new album Sevendust puts out. And while this recording might be Sonny Mayo’s swan song with the band, he certainly does not disappoint, contributing the best riffs and solos of his near four year tenure.

    So, to sum up, an “out of 10″ rating for each song:
    1) “Inside”-10/10
    2) “Enough”-9/10
    3) “Hope”-10/10
    4) “Scapegoat”-10/10
    5) “Fear”-8/10
    6) “The Past”-10/10
    7) “Prodigal Son”-10/10 8) “Lifeless”-10/10
    9) “Sorrow”-10/10
    10) “Contradiction”-9/10
    11) “Walk Away”-10/10
    12) “Lucky One” (bonus track)-8/10
    13) “Heart In Your Hands” (bonus track)-10/10

    Thirteen tracks, nine of which I consider perfect and some of the best in Sevendust’s entire catalog. I can’t be much more honest than that.

    Posted on March 11, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Fans of Sevendust, we have ANOTHER great CD from this great group. I really score this album a 4.5, but, Amazon doesn’t allow that. So, I rounded up.

    Chapter VII is a nice mix of heavy rock and melodies, like most of their CDs. The only reason I knock this album down to a 4.5 instead of 5 is that we all saw what Sevendust was capable of with “Alpha.” HEAVY Sevendust is the best kind of Sevendust. On this album, we see 2 or 3 slower rock songs again, as in previous years. As much as I like Lajon’s singing voice, I was hoping the group was going to continue with last year’s pace, all-out heavy rock music. Still, the album is excellent.

    With 12 songs that clock in at 53 minutes, we receive a nice amount of music on this CD. That pleases me. Also, there are a few guitar solos that are done quite well. I love guitar solos, so those made me happy when I heard them. It was track #4 that had me smiling on my drive to work this morning.

    Overall, GREAT CD that is very worthy of a purchase. I bought it off iTunes this morning for $10 (I wanted it for the work day), and will buy the actual CD tonight after work for $10. So, I’ll be spending $20 on the album, and I’m not regretting it. It’s another Sevendust CD, you can never go wrong with that. Buy it.

    Posted on March 10, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now