It is hard to believe modern metal veterans Sevendust are releasing their twelfth full length album All I See Is War on May 11. They have had a string of gold albums in the late nineties and are known for their incredible live performances packing venues all around the world. After the well deserved 2016 GRAMMY nomination for “Best Metal Performance” for the song “Thank You”, it was exciting to hear what the band would do to keep up their momentum.
The album starts out with the first single “Dirty” and it sets the stage for the rest of the album both musically and lyrically. We get the pounding grooves from drummer Morgan Rose mixed in with the swirling guitars of both Clint Lowery and John Connolly. It all comes together masterfully with the layered soulful vocals of Lajon Withersoon. This is the first album since their album “Cold Day Memory” (2010) where the band has worked with a producer. Michael “Elvis” Baskette (Alter Bridge, Slash) who has had a friendship with Connolly was brought in to challenge the band and it clearly shows with this album. It almost pulls pieces and circles back to their very successful album “Animosity” (2001) where the bands sound was evolving and more people were exposed to their music. The trademark Sevendust sound is still present and it even offers a more diverse example of the band stretching out to explore new avenues.
The subject matter on All I See Is War is dark but also very relatable. In the thundering groove of “Medicated”, the lyrics talk about how the opioid epidemic is being so destructive it ends lives prematurely. The band is asking the question “Can we stop it?”. On of my favorite songs on the album is “Not Original”. The song is a beautiful ballad showcasing Witherspoon’s bluesy vocals and talks about being in a creative rut and questioning how to get out it. As an visual artist I can totally relate to this wondering how I was going to get out of my creative slump and not to repeat what I have done in the past. The crushing groove of “Risen” has the classic Sevendust feel that all the fans have come to love but also sheds a light of hope from all of the personal struggles and negativity we encounter in our lives.
Although not at all surprised, this is a really solid and consistent album. The sequencing of songs is fused together perfectly as it intertwines the heavy riffs, infectious melodic vocals, and razor share provoking lyrics. All I See Is War is a confident step forward all music fans should openly embrace.
Review by Jason Bullinger