Review Summary: Sevendust deliver a ninth studio album that is easily as consistent and just as strong as their previous instalments. Things can only get better when it comes to number ten.
It's hard to find a good rock band these days. A lot of them tend to sell their souls to the devil, flop after their first album, or a lot of them found some dumb luck in a hit single or two and have been riding off that success ever since, but Sevendust is truly a great band, and one that has been underrated for far too long now (though they seem to be getting more attention after this new album and it's excellent single "Decay"). The album at hand is easily just as strong a piece as their previous albums were, but on a technical side, the band's arguably gotten better with time and they are always consistent in delivering great rock music with catchy hooks and a strong melody. The energy and passion is always on full-display for these men and, as is usual for them, everyone has their rightful moment in the spotlight and no one is too overbearing, they all work together in crafting tracks that contain a powerful meaning for themselves and others who can relate to them.
Some fans on this site felt that Cold Day Memory
was a rather middle of the road album from the band, but that is, of course, greatly mistaken, Cold Day Memory
is a very strong album which shows the band is back to making the same level of extremely addicting tracks that were featured on Seasons
. With that said, it's clear that the band's only gotten better in part due to Clint Lowery's growth as a musician, letting himself expand further with his side-projects such as Hello Demons Meet Skeletons and Call Me No One, with fellow Sevendust band member Morgan Rose along for the ride on that one, has only made him sharper both vocally and lyrically (which is definitely proven on Last Parade
). Though this album is definitely along the lines of Cold Day Memory
, as it too has it's fair share of flaws, it's hard to dislike the album when the rest of it is consistently enjoyable and eager to please. All of the tracks featured are energetic and catchy, even the lesser tracks have bright spots throughout.
"Memory" and "Faithless" both open up the album equally because they should have been the same song, as the gap between the intro "Memory" and the true opening track "Faithless" doesn't quite work because of the latter's quick cut in, they really should have been fitted together. But, when heard as one, "Faithless" is a fantastic song which quickly reveals the level of lyrical depth the band is willing to show throughout, as it has powerful lines such as "The burning ends, you come around, so step back for the answer, lift yourself up slowly, it's taken everything"
and "the burning ends, at least for now"
which leave a lasting effect. Speaking of lasting effects, how about "Murder Bar"? It is arguably the best song on the album and it even harkens back to the tone of previous album closers from the band, including "Born to Die", "Face to Face" and "Strong Arm Broken". A very strong way to end the album on.
There's a lot of positive that comes with Black Out the Sun
, which features some of the band's best lyrics to date on tracks such as "Black Out the Sun" and "Dark AM", where both pack an emotional wallop. "Black Out the Sun" is particularly fascinating, as Lajon recalls his father and how he may be the "one and only answer for the selfish man that [he] surely ha[s] become"
in the lyrics. It is in that one, single line that brings the whole song together in a piece that people growing up with or without fathers can easily relate to. One of the reasons why this band is so fresh and consistent with their music is because their music speaks wonders to them and their target audience, songs like "Angel's Son", "Xmas Day", "Hope" and "This Life" have strong emotional connections to the band's own members and their listeners alike.
With that said, it's pretty clear that this album packs some punch in a variety of departments. It's extremely catchy, with excellent lyrics, soaring vocals, pulse-pounding drumming and guitar-work throughout. The album is very apocalyptic in a lot of tracks, including "Nobody Wants It" (which makes me think of the excellent AMC series The Walking Dead
when Lajon sings "Am I the walking dead?"
), "Decay" and "Murder Bar", but it also balances out all the musical chaos by having some lighter tracks in there, like "Got A Feeling", for good measure. While some things hinder the album's ranking as one of the band's all-time best, such as repetition (largely due to "Cold As War"), no lengthier tracks over the usual 3-5 minute mark (such as "Burn" and "Walk Away") and "Dead Roses" is a bit of a road-block at times because of it's wonky lyrics that, at times, jarringly shifts between different tones to the point where it's hard to figure out what the song is about. But even the lesser tracks like "Cold As War" and "Dead Roses" have their bright moments and are maintained by having all members on-key and giving solid performances on an overall very solid, very entertaining ninth studio album from arguably the best mainstream rock group of all-time.
Be sure to check out the Top 12: The Best Songs By Sevendust list I recently put up on Sputnikmusic.