Review Summary: This is not Sevendust-redux, this is a fine album from a band that can only evolve if they decide to keep rocking.
News came in that some members of Sevendust
were at work on a side-project... but they already had my interest at Sevendust. Anything involving any members of a group who have stayed consistent throughout their wicked history in the business deserves some undivided attention. Clint Lowery is aboard this project and he delivers throughout, providing enough charisma to carry some of the weaker tracks to their close with relative ease. Also aboard is the unmistakably talented Morgan Rose, he does his usual fine work as drummer (but I do wish that he would have his voice a presence on here as well just to mix things up a bit more). The both of them combined, plus their other talented companions involved as well, we have a solid group that do not rely on past successes to carry the load.
"The World Is Dead" opens up this monstrous album and, with hearing the single before I got the album, I noticed right away that it should have featured "Biggest Fan"'s lyrics of "We're all the same / So follow me down to the end"
simply because it connects more with the the theme of dying (hence "The whole world is dead"
). Despite that, it's still a strong opener that leads generously into "Thunderbird". Although this song is good upon first listen, it does tend to get quite tiresome thanks to the fact that very little is happening in terms of... well, anything. There's not much in this song that's worth the attention, but it helps you get used to what these guys are capable of (at their weakest, that is). Initially, I really thought that the lyrics were quite catchy, especially the opening lines, but the chorus isn't that memorable at all:
"Yay! / No one every wants the blame / But everyone tries to blame you / Everyone wants the fame / But no one came to see you [or] But no one ever cares at all"
Unfortunately, a couple of the later tracks are affected by this symptom also. "Broken Record" is an example of this problem, and the problem is not bad writing of any sort, the problem is that it becomes way too repetitive. However, "Broken Record"'s a breeze to get through when compared to the disappointing final track "Time Machine". Slug-like in it's pacing, Lowery sounds like he's falling to sleep in this sleep-inducing close to an otherwise very energizing and enjoyable record. Other songs like "You Surprise Me" and the title track have their moments, "Last Parade" in particular has a brilliant build-up before it's surprisingly disappointing chorus that hardly goes far with the material, but they stop the train from chugging along a little too abruptly at their certain moments.
But, back to the good stuff thankfully. Taking a slower pace to the proceedings is "Soapbox", which is a very breezing track that triumphs thanks to thoughtful, almost reflective lyrics that help propel it towards it's fine conclusion with some fantastic guitar work to boot. Following "Soapbox" is a song that's a little weaker than it's predecessor, but it's still quite good also, is "Hillbilly" which succeeds because of it's sheer energy (unfortunately it has terrible lyrics with some interesting lines thrown in every now and then). "All's Well" should have replaced (and deleted) "Time Machine" from the disc because of it's length and all-around incredible delivery on all fronts; especially with a cool little solo that emerges right before the final verse takes over.
The single off of Last Parade
, "Biggest Fan", is solid material. It's fast, to the point (and would have been the perfect choice to open the album up with), but it also reminded me of "Remedy" (by Cold, not Seether) with it's structure and abrupt cut-off. Not that that's a bad thing at all, Call Me No One's track is just as strong as Cold's was. "War Song" brought back fond memories of Pearl Jam's energizing turn on Vs
. A great song. "Pleased To Meet You" is definitely my favourite song on the album. Lowery delightfully dances with the devil in the pale moonlight for this one and the lyrics are first-rate, especially during it's powerful chorus, and they emphasis the bounciness of the other performances on display as well. So there you have it. A spectacular album, one that I can only imagine will get better-and-better with repeat listens, but hopefully it will not make this fine band out to be a novelty. Bring on the sophomore effort!