Review Summary: Bro metal with a hint of chocolate. Yummy.
Sevendust is a rare gem for me. It's one of those bands that you can show to your girlfriend without fearing she'll break up with you (don't EVER introduce her to At The Gates, I'd still be dating mine if I hadn't), you can show it to your friends without being ridiculed for going soft, and you can use them to introduce your little brother to metal if he's still into Lil Wayne. Sevendust are melodic enough to appeal to most casual listeners and heavy enough to prevent you from falling asleep.
That's something most fans can agree on. It's interesting to see a certain division in taste amongst fans, however. A good number prefer their heavier side, like the one displayed in albums like Alpha
. Others, like myself, prefer the softer albums like Seasons
. Still, there's something for everyone in their discography. Fortunately, Sevendust turns the page on Chapter 7
and is back to delivering consistent, quality material with their 8th studio album.
Lajon Witherspoon - Reese Witherspoon's distant cousin and vocals
John Connolly - Guitars
Clint Lowery - Guitars and vocals
Vincent Hornsby - Bass
Morgan Rose - Drums and screams
Following the release of Seasons
, Clint Lowery left the band to work on his own projects. Guitarist Sonny Mayo took Clint's spot and a change in the band's sound was evident. Whether it was for the better or not is down to personal opinion. I enjoyed a good number of tracks off the 3 albums he worked on personally. Alpha
proved to be the heaviest album the band ever made, and despite having its flaws, it was a great piece of work. Can't say the same about Mayo's last album with the band.
So, what does the Atlanta-based band bring to the table this time" Following Chapter 7
, Sevendust announced Clint Lowery would join the band again to work on their 8th studio album. This announcement alone triggered high hopes to old fans of the band in hopes they would regain their sound back. Does Cold Day Memory live up to its expectations" Barely, but it's definitely a step in the right direction. It's not as heavy as I had hoped it would be, but it's not a snoozefest either. One thing is for sure though, it's catchy as hell
The album kicks off with "Splinter" and immediately throws some great palm-muted riffing in your face. They couldn't have chosen a better opener for the album. Drummer Morgan Rose's signature screams appear every now and then to compliment Lajon Witherspoon's vocals while doing some interesting drum fills here and there. Angry singing and a breakdown of sorts are contrasted by Lajon heartfeltedly asking "Am I the splinter in your life"" in the bridge.
"Forever Dead" is up next but I can't really get into it. Despite the excellent drum work from Rose, the guitar sections are bland and the lyrics are average at best. The short guitar solo, one of the many you'll surprisingly find on the record, does little to help the overall quality of the song. "Last Breath" slows things down and feels like Seasons
all over again, except it's just not catchy at all. Very melodic and safe sound-wise, not much going on here really. Easily forgettable.
"Unraveling" is the first single in the album and it's pretty obvious why. It's one of the best songs in the album, blending beautiful lyrics with great instrumentation and very passionate singing. This is Sevendust at its best, with Lajon singing in the chorus "I want the world to see you sold a broken dream. You weren't there for me, I was unraveling." All members of the band helped write the lyrics on the album, with Clint being the main writer on this one. The bridge also features one of the few instances where Morgan Rose sings rather than screams, and it sounds great. Definitely worth checking this song out. "Confessions" is another song that follows a similar trend. It's less about despair and more about hope though. Equally catchy chorus and great lyrics. It seems to me that Sevendust's forte have become the softer songs. Not that it's a bad thing, but I wish Morgan would get pissed off more often because it's usually he who writes the heavier, angrier songs for the band.
"Karma" starts off really promising with the guitar adding textures and colors to the bass and drums. Lyrics start interesting and the song makes a very short and subtle build up into the chorus. The chorus isn't particularly bad, John C. has some nice riffs here, but sometimes you have to wonder how in the world the band came up with the lyrics: "We all feel karma, I feel karma!" This, along with a couple other dull moments in the album, make people like Chad Gray look like lyrical geniuses. That aside, I like the song's potential.
"Ride Insane", "Nowhere", and "Here And Now" are pretty standard Sevendust songs. They don't feature anything new, they sound just like the Sevendust most people know. "Nowhere" does feature a pretty nice solo though, it was a pleasant surprise. I won't call them filler songs, but they're what bring the album down to a 3.0. These songs are the safest the band has in the album, I wish they had done more with them aside from adding a couple solos.
"The End is Coming" brings the catchy riffing back. A very nu-metal guitar is accompanied by drums that lead into a soft verse. "Don't try to run!" can be heard from Morgan's throat before the song explodes into the chorus. No point in running when hell breaks loose apparently. If I had to guess, Morgan wrote most of the song. The break is one of my favorite moments in the album, it's definitely great. "Divine security..." is whisperered a couple times before Rose breaks into screams and the song ends with a solo by Clint. The man definitely has some tricks up his sleeve left and he doesn't hesitate to use them.
"Better Place" was the only song that did not receive radio play at all until the album got released. The beginning is breath-taking, it has a hint of post-rock in it. Before you know it though, a rapid guitar riff cuts it off as the drums come blasting. Lajon starts singing as the guitar slows down but is still present in the end as a palm-muted riff. The chorus is slow, yet optimistic, which makes an interesting contrast with the mildly depressing verse. I could be wrong but Clint sings along Lajon on here just like they used to in the old days.
The album ends on a heavy note with "Strong Arm Broken". It doesn't let up from the second it starts. I can't tell who does the screams in this song, they're different from most of the screams Morgan does. It's pretty refreshing though. Once again, Clint throws in another solo at the end and Lajon keeps singing "Strong arm broken!" all the way through the end. It's a pretty decent song but it's a terrible choice for a closer as far as I see it. They should have placed this song before "Better Place" instead since that would have been a more fitting closer.
If you're wondering if the album is worth buying, I'd suggest listening to a couple tracks first. If you're already a Sevendust fan though, it definitely is worth buying since it's a worthy addition to their discography. Sevendust plays it rather safe with Cold Day Memory but it's still a step in the right direction. Good thing they left Chapter 7
behind. Clint Lowery's return brings back elements from the old Sevendust and also adds new ones to the band. Let's hope the band keeps progressing and makes another solid album.
Good guitar work
Passionate delivery from Lajon
Bass doesn't go out of its way to stand out, there's never a memorable bass moment.
Some lyrics are marginally terrible
Some average songs bring nothing new to the table