After slowing things down last year with an acoustic record and tour, US band Sevendust are back to the heavy with new album Kill The Flaw. Clearly satiating the desire to unplug, they have re-emerged with as much power and energy as on earlier releases. In fact, Sevendust have delved back into the kind of melodic metal and hard rock that marked the band’s formative years.
Opening track and lead single Thank You sets the tone for the album with hard hitting percussion and bass driven riffs. With a different vocalist the melodic top line could be cheesy, but Lajon Witherspoon’s distinctive grit stops that one short, well balanced with the uncleans. It’s sharp and precise, with big breakdowns and hooks to stick in your head. Historically dividing opinion as to whether Sevendust are rock or metal, Kill The Flaw is certainly amongst their heaviest work but it still feels like hard rock. Morgan Rose’s drumming is storming and metronomic but it just doesn’t pulverise. Even the breakdown on Silly Beast features some great blastbeat playing there’s still enough groove to it. A lot of the power behind Sevendust comes from the dual guitar action from Clint Lowery and John Connolly, with some good solo work from Lowery on title track Kill The Flaw and Silly Beast.
Digging back to an early 2000’s style, Kill The Flaw is the sort of melodic rock that has nothing to do with pop or punk. It’s a palatable sound, but not bubblegum, and full of hooks and songs that will translate perfectly to live shows – something Sevendust are well respected for. Letters isn’t breaking boundaries, but holds really addictive chorus that manages to stay on the right side of cheesy and is one of the best bits of writing on the album. An eery vocal harmony intro for Cease and Desist, set against strings and subtle electronics, calls up Coheed And Cambria in all their beautiful creepiness.
Final track Torched is a hefty ending, with some of the most aggressive drumming on the album and looming riffs, it’s a slow drive but the nearest to metal. Call and answer between clean and unclean vocals feel like a nod to the current trend in metalcore but still with their signature melody and lyricism. After nearly thirty years as a band and with eleven albums under their belt, Sevendust have an integrity in what is essentially an old sound. Kill The Flaw is flawlessly executed, self produced the band clearly know what is best for them. Sharp tracks and ear catching melodies, coupled with the weight of rock. Or metal. Either way, Sevendust are an elemental force.