Sevendust, ‘Blood & Stone’ Review – New Album Features Strong Melodies and Soulful Vocals

2020-11-09

Review: Sevendust are back with their 13th studio album, "Blood & Stone," and the set offers a mix of strong melodies and powerful, soulful singing.

Sevendust, “Blood & Stone,” album cover – Review by Anne Erickson

Review: Sevendust are back with their 13th studio album, “Blood & Stone,” and the set offers a mix of strong melodies and powerful, soulful singing

Longstanding Atlanta metal band Sevendust came onto the scene in the mid-90s, offering up a unique blend of melodic metal with just enough screaming and heaviness to appease hardcore metal fans. Since then, the band has evolved and grown musically, all the while maintaining the same lineup of musicians and friends, including vocalist Lajon Witherspoon, guitarist Clint Lowery, bass player Vince Hornsby, drummer Morgan Rose and guitarist John Connolly.

Having the same band lineup for more than two decades is no small accomplishment, and when Sevendust crafts new music, that hard-won musical chemistry and friendship is apparent on the new tracks. Now on their 13th studio album, “Blood & Stone,” out this month, Sevendust are truly showing their musical maturity and penchant for tuneful melodies coupled with heavy, cutting riffs.

As the set launches off with “Dying to Live,” it’s apparent early on that Sevendust have a special focus and drive on “Blood & Stone.” Witherspoon’s powerful, soulful voice cuts through the wall of guitars as he sings, “We’re cold, immune to the abuse / What other price to pay?”

From song to song, the album progresses nicely, with a range of sounds, from pure adrenaline-fueled metal to softer, melody-driven hard rock. For those who like the more melodic side of Sevendust, “What You’ve Become” is a stand-out, with a huge, swelling chorus that’s indicative of some of Sevendust’s biggest radio hits, such as “Enemy” and “Denial.” That hard-hitting tracks are still there in “Criminal,” “Desperation” and the album’s current single, “Blood from a Stone.”

Those looking for the stripped-down side of Sevendust will find lots to appreciate in “Nothing Left to See Here Anymore,” a heartfelt power ballad that sees Witherspoon crooning, “I thought you’d never put me through this again / But the truth is it’s always the same / It ended before it began / So tear down the walls and start over again.”

No Sevendust album is exactly like any other, but listening to “Blood & Stone” from front to back, the album seems to resemble 2003’s “Seasons” more than any other Sevendust collection, largely due to its reliance on melody and Witherspoon’s singing, as opposed to screaming or a brutally heavy delivery.

The album closes with Sevendust’s shining cover of the Soundgarden classic “The Day I Tried to Live,” which has achieved success on the mainstream rock radio chart. The band does the late, great Chris Cornell justice with the cover, and it’s an apt way to wrap up one of Sevendust’s most solid albums to date.

Ink rating: 10/10. Essential songs: “Blood from a Stone,” “Criminal,” Soundgarden’s “The Day I Tried to Live,” “Love.” For fans of: Heavy metal with a strong melodic bent.

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