Review Summary: An interesting experiment from Sevendust...
After over a decade of consistency, Sevendust decided to experiment on their newest release, Time Travelers and Bonfires. The alternative metal group wrote six songs and re-recorded six of their classic tracks. Although Time Travelers and Bonfires is billed as an acoustic album, it is not 100% acoustic. Most of the songs feature electric guitar solos, and there is also an electric guitar riff buried deep within the mix of "Upbeat Sugar." Even still, the unplugged concept works beautifully, especially on the six new songs.
"Come Down" opens Time Travelers and Bonfires on a mid-tempo note. It carries a distinct Middle Eastern feel (just my opinion) and is carried by Lajon Witherspoon and his energetic vocals. Witherspoon has long been one of the best vocalists in alternative metal, and his unique mix of soul/r&b stylings with gruffer "rock" vocals are in top form. "Come Down" is not a slow acoustic ballad by any means. Like most of the tracks on TT&B, "Come Down" has a lot of activity to it. On Time Travelers & Bonfires, piano is featured prominently in tracks like "Under It All" and the gorgeous ballad "One Life." Other tracks, like the grungy "Upbeat Sugar", the up-tempo tracks "The Wait" and "Bonfire" and the aforementioned "Come Down" embody the classic groove-oriented Sevendust sound in stripped-down fashion. It would be interesting to see if Sevendust ever decided to re-work these songs as electric tracks.
The six previously released Sevendust tracks that are reworked for Time Travelers & Bonfires are pretty good as well. "Trust" and "Black" are two particular highlights. The acoustic renditions mostly retain the energy of the originals, although "Black" doesn't feel quite as powerful on acoustic form.
Time Travelers & Bonfires as a whole is a entertaining experiment that more bands should undertake. Not only did Sevendust rework six of their previously released songs for the project, but they wrote six kickass new tracks for their fans. The entire album was funded through Pledgemusic, and it's easy to see that the fans got their money's worth with Time Travelers & Bonfires. The project feels like it was done with care.