Okay rockers, here we go. A band I’ve loved for almost twenty years now…SEVENDUST. And also one of the very first bands whose album and subsequent tour A&GS reviewed on the site when we first went live (2013’s Black Out the Sun). So they’re pretty special to us. After the huge success of last year’s acoustic Time Travelers & Bonfires, the guys are back with brand new record Kill the Flaw (October 2, 7Bros. Records). The Atlanta quintet are quick to serve up an album that once again brings the heavy while embracing the trademark melodies that embody each and every chapter in the band’s body of work. Vocalist Lajon Witherspoon remains one of the best in metal as he can sing with heart and soul as well as growl like a rabid junkyard dog depending on what the song needs. Twin Terror guitarists John Connolly and Clint Lowery continue to feed the beast while bassist Vince Hornsby and drummer Morgan Rose remain constantly on the attack.
There are times when a band decides to self-produce and I cringe. This is not one of those times. After all these years together the boys know what their sound is. They know what works and what doesn’t. Everything is perfectly balanced. So what about the songs? Good question! Leadoff single “Thank You” is also the album opener and it sets the table wonderfully. This would also serve as a great introductory track for the uninitiated. “Death Dance” is classic SEVENDUST all the way, with one of the crunchiest verse sections on the whole thing and a refrain that is pretty much unforgettable.
“Forget” sounds to me like something from the Seasons and Next era (not surprisingly two of my favorite albums) and is one that should get bodies moving in a live setting. Now, when “Letters” first started I was slightly taken aback. It was almost TOO polished for my liking, but then I let the song continue and that big sweeping chorus washed over me and by the next spin I was very into it. You might notice that on Kill the Flaw there seems to be less focus on the angry stuff and the band simply opts to write songs that while heavy, lack some of the aggression from years past. This really isn’t a bad thing because it’s not like they’ve lost their edge or anything. Hell, one listen to the title track should dispel that myth. This is also THE best song on the record, no question.
Another show-stopper is “Peace and Destruction”. This is the sonic equivalent of that favorite concert t-shirt we all have, or old pair of jeans, and it’s All SEVENDUST, all the time! The signature back-up screams are there in full force and make a great song even greater. And oh man, wait till you hear the Southern boogie-meets-chugging guitars of “Chop”. Saying I was blown away doesn’t even do it justice. I expect many of you to abuse that REPEAT button as soon as you get your paws on the disc! “Silly Beast” has the dirty riffs and groove we’ve also come to love and expect from the band time and time again.
I think we can all agree that when it comes to album closers, few if any bands out there can touch these guys. From “Face to Face” to “Murder Bar” to “Strong Arm Broken” they are in a class all by themselves, and latest brainsmasher “Torched” is 100% a worthy addition to that roster. Massive gutturals, Witherspoon’s passionate vocals, and the band just going for broke for 3:21 make this a total home run. At the end of the day SEVENDUST have done it again. They have given the fans not just what we wanted, but what we needed, and that is an album full of well-written, ass-kicking rock songs that beg to be heard again and again. By the way, Mini-Amps has been going crazy to the record all night! Guess he approves?
STANDOUT TRACKS: ‘Torched”, “Kill the Flaw”, “Death Dance”, “Peace and Destruction”, “Chop”, “Forget”