I love the fall. It’s a time of change. Summer is over, all the obnoxious kids are back in school, the streets are empty, the weather is milder and more comfortable. All of these things make autumn my favorite season. One other reason to appreciate this time of year is Sevendust. Every fall (well, every other fall) I always can look forward to a new Sevendust release. Like clockwork, since their 1997 debut, the boys have never let us down. Every other year, releasing an incredible, original album that puts their competition to shame.
It’s been a year of change for the band, and their fifth album is appropriately titled “Next.” Aside from getting away from their neglectful label (TVT), they also had to endure the loss of founding guitarist, Clint Lowery (who left late last year to join his brother in Dark New Day). I’m sure I’m not the only one who was worried about Sevendust’s future, afterall, this is, and always has been, a highly collaborative group, and Clint no doubt played a big part. One listen to “Next,” however, and all worries and doubts are set aside. Sevendust are back, just as strong as before. As the opening track, “Hero,” ripped through my speakers, a smile formed on my face. Sevendust are here to stay.
Clint’s replacement, Sony Mayo, fits like a glove. You almost wouldn’t notice there was a change in line-up. Mayo obviously has chemistry with the group. Aside from playing in groups like (hed)p.e. and Amen, he was an original member of Snot, a group that Sevendust came up with in the mid to late 90’s. Mayo came into the group very quickly (within a month, they had confirmed him as Clint’s replacement) and it’s easy to see why. The chemistry is electrifying. This set of 11 songs easily fits in among Sevendust’s best. Style-wise, it’s a progression from 2003’s “Seasons.” It shares a lot of the same traits, but since it was self-produced, “Next” is a more down and dirty, grittier affair. Fans of the older material can rejoice, as this album combines the best of old with new, while still steering their style towards the future. Standouts on this record include the instant hits “Ugly” and “Pieces,” the somber “This Life,” and “Never,” an effects heavy callback to the groups earlier efforts.
Personally, I can’t wait to see these guys when they hit the road. This is undoubtedly an album that will sound even better performed live (which is what Sevendust are best at), and “The Last Song” just proves it. Take one listen to the chorus, and you can almost imagine being in the crowd at a Sevendust show. Overall, “Next” is a forceful, well-made album. The band sound just as great as before, it’s like they never missed a step. The bonus DVD, which runs about 25 minutes basically brings everyone up to speed on what has happened to the group in the past year (although it’s funny to note that Clint is never mentioned directly). “Next” is an album you won’t want to miss. As for Sevendust, I raise my glass to you. You couldn’t disappoint us — even if you tried.