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Sevendust - All I See Is War

All I See Is War
by Jon Conant at 20 May 2018, 10:19 PM

For better or for worse, you have to respect the commitment SEVENDUST has to bringing the metal/hard rock edge to their music. Having released 12 albums since 1997, these veterans are one of the most well established and consistent acts in the metal community, and that kind of reputation usually earns you the right to experiment a lot more with changing/softening your sound. However, on their latest full length effort “All I See Is War,” while we do get plenty of softer and more melodic/experimental moments, we STILL get the usual healthy dose of screams from Lajon Witherspoon (not to mention his epic cleans) and the chunky groove metal guitar we’ve come to love and expect from SEVENDUST. I’m both shocked and pleased at the overall quality and consistency of this album. It’s angry, it’s aggressive, it’s fresh sounding, and it’s a non-compromise on the genre and style the band has devoted themselves to.

I also love the politically charged lyrics. It lends to a very aggressive feel in the album that permeates even through the softer numbers. Consistency of atmosphere is a really excellent thing to be able to nail down like this, and I wouldn’t expect anything less from these musicians. In the words of guitarist John Connelly:

“We’re as polarized as we’ve ever been, discussion is not happening. Everyone is so quick to snap online. We’re not listening. We’re just talking. In these songs, we don’t sugarcoat what’s going on. For as dark as the subject matter may be, it’s about hope. We know we can be in a better spot, because we’ve seen so many different individuals come together around music.”

That being said, there is a somewhat milquetoast feel to this album. While they keep things fresh and tight, it’s largely nothing we haven’t heard before musically speaking, and it’s nothing that’s going to blow anybody away or push the genre forward. For my money, there wasn’t a single song that stood out as AMAZING, just really good. This is an album for well established SEVENDUST fans, not that there’s anything wrong with that. That’s really all the band needs to muster at this point.

Album opener “Dirty” gives us an outstanding blend of melodic, heavy, groove/chunk, and a healthy split between clean and harsh vocals. From there, through the front half of the album it’s simply a wide array of solid songs, but nothing that stands out. Numbers like “Medicated,” “Unforgiven,” and “Sickness” are catchy tunes that push the album forward, but nothing more. "Medicated" is particularly strong, being a single, with a really fantastic rhythm guitar line and some of my favorite harsh vocals. Unfortunately the intensity doesn't sustain into the bland chorus, leaving the song feeling only halfway there.

In the middle section of the album is where things get a little more interesting. The two tracks that stood out to me the most, and are my favorites on the album, are “Cheers” (track 6) and “Moments” (track 8). “Cheers” because it was the heaviest and chunkiest song on the album, and at the exact middle point, it was a perfect transition into the slightly more melodic back half of the album. It’s a strong song that is a SEVENDUST classic, serving up everything fans could ask for and more. “Moments” sees a lot more unique variety, with a beautiful, soft, and melodic instrumental opening section carried by a gorgeous piece of piano before falling into a chunky but upbeat riff that is exciting and very fresh. The piano featured through the track is perfectly placed, and was wonderful to hear.

All said in done, there’s nothing on the album that’s going to blow anyone away, but there’s also nothing to hate. This is a VERY solid 12th effort from a veteran band that knows exactly what they’re doing. They don’t show any signs of slowing down, so fans can enjoy the consistency of “All I See Is War” for the next few years until we get a 13th album, which I’m sure will be coming. Hats off to SEVENDUST, one of the best metal acts to ever do it.

Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Dirty
2. God Bites His Tongue
3. Medicated
4. Unforgiven
5. Sickness
6. Cheers
7. Risen
8. Moments
9. Not Original
10. Descend
11. Life Deceives You
12. The Truth
Lajon Witherspoon - Lead Vocals
Clint Lowery - Guitar, Vocals
Morgan Rose - Drums, Vocals
John Connolly - Guitar, Vocals
Vince Hornsby - Bass
Record Label: Rise Records


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Edited 05 July 2020

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