Album Review: SEVENDUST Truth Killer

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Sevendust has had a long, consistent and successful career. Their first three albums went gold, and they’ve done well on the charts. Several records landed in the top 30 of Billboard’s album chart, and their last five albums have topped out at either number one or two on the Hard Rock chart. They have also had more than 30 singles make an appearance on the Mainstream Rock chart.

There have been some rumblings that Sevendust might dial things back when it comes to the frequency of new albums and tours, but for now, they are going at full speed. They have a new record deal with Napalm Records, a lot of touring on the schedule for the rest of the year, and a brand new album, Truth Killer, their fourteenth studio effort.

Even after nearly three decades Sevendust continues to defy expectations. A traditional opening track would be a rousing single, something Truth Killer has plenty of. Instead, they chose to begin with “I Might Let The Devil Win,” described as if Trent Reznor produced The Weeknd. It starts in a laid-back fashion, with electronics front and center and subdued vocals from Lajon Witherspoon, a definite departure from the usual Sevendust song. It eventually kicks in with heavy guitars and a more traditional approach.

And while the electronics are most obvious on that track, they are sprinkled throughout the album. “We pulled in a lot of electronic elements,” says guitarist Clint Lowery. “In the past, I hired outside programmers, but I did the programming myself. I tried to create a musical bed that made it easy to sing cool vocal parts. We always set a goal to have a certain sound, and we followed through with it. We didn’t compromise.”

Those elements are used effectively to provide flavor, atmosphere and a modern vibe to the songs. Sevendust have always been able to pack a lot of variety into a four minute song. The groovy title track injects an ambient interlude and a heavy breakdown style section with brief harsh vocals, while “Won’t Stop The Bleeding” shifts from bombastic to smooth and back again.

The charismatic Witherspoon moves seamlessly between vocal styles, whether it be laid-back singing or full out belting. “Messenger” is a melodic, smooth sounding anthem, while “Fence” embraces Sevendust’s classic sound with a lot of aggressive vocals. One of the most melodic songs on the album is “Superficial Drug,” with lyrics about the superficiality of the social media world.

For the third consecutive album, Sevendust worked with producer Michael “Elvis” Baskette, whose resume includes production on albums from bands such as Trivium, Alter Bridge, Mammoth WVH and Slash. When it comes to this genre, Baskette knows how to capture both a band’s warmth and aggression.

Truth Killer has that distinctive Sevendust sound while still moving in new directions. It’s focused and streamlined with plenty of catchy songs and a few surprises. 2020’s Blood & Stone was well received, and this one should garner similar acclaim.

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