To appreciate what Sevendust have done since their 1997 self-titled debut album, you must take into consideration that many of the bands they’ve toured with or played alongside over the years, either aren’t around anymore or at the very least, aren’t commercially relevant anymore. Any way you spin it, Sevendust is, simply put, one of rock and alternative metal’s most beloved bands. While they do manage to throw a few curveballs to their devoted fanbase on each record, the band’s tried-and-true take on alternative metal has always combined the soulful with the abrasive, the heavy with the melodic, and the rhythmic with the technical. In fact, a handy little statistic is that since the release of their sophomore album Home, all of their studio full-lengths to date have peaked at least at the #28 mark on the Billboard Top 200 – with multiple Gold-certified records to their name as well.
With their 13th studio album out now, Sevendust have once again provided a measuring stick by which most rock bands should be judged. While many bands their age have sunk into the throes of banality, Sevendust find inspiration in being who they are – themselves.
Groove-laden, pulsing alternative metal is always the name of the game with Sevendust, and on tracks like pre-release singles “Dying To Live” and “Blood From A Stone”, fans will get that in spades. What sets these songs, and some of the rest on the new album apart in particular, is the band’s subtle use of electronics and keys to accentuate the music. It’s also really nice to hear the band using bouncier rhythms when it comes to John Connolly and Clint Lowery’s guitarwork, which gives the band a modern touch and also helps them avoid sounding dated.
The band’s cover of Soundgarden’s “The Day I Tried To Live”, while unexpected, simply emanates with soul and passion that the band is known for – certainly, the late Chris Cornell would be proud of this one. Lajon Witherspoon just sells it with his distinct voice, really. The choruses on Blood & Stone are wiry and flexible, too – with the ones on “Love” and “Kill Me” being particular highlights.
Overall, what Sevendust have done on Blood & Stone is remarkable. While it may or may not be hailed as highly as some of their most classic records, you have to admit – what the veteran band has done is impressive.