Ever since the limelight shone off of Atlanta’s Sevendust, the band have remained impressively prolific. ‘All I See Is War’ is their twelfth studio album, and their first since signing over to Rise Records last year.
If anything sets them apart from their machismo-ridden contemporaries, Sevendust can always rely on Lajon Witherspoon‘s impassioned vocals, which are without doubt the band’s strongest asset. His strong ear for melody and emotive singing style elevate this album significantly. Morgan Rose‘s thunderous drumming regularly shines through especially well.
Unfortunately, despite the band having plenty of know-how, the majority of the songs on this album tend to blend into one and rarely attempt to drift away from the same formula, especially with the choruses. The riffs are some that you feel you’ve heard for twenty years too long.
Witherspoon clearly means what he sings, but the lyrics rarely break away from clunky, predictable metaphors such as “If I fall, would you pick me up, or kick me down again?” in ‘Risen’, and “Why does it always seem to rain when I wanna see sunshine?” in ‘The Truth’.
The almost metalcore riffing of ‘Unforgiven’ and the very brief piano and string-led sections scattered across the record are more interesting moments, but you’re left feeling like expanding on these would add so much more. You almost want to be with the band in the studio, shouting “DO THAT MORE OFTEN!”.
The only truly stand-out track is the relatively sombre ballad ‘Not Original’, which was inspired by watching the Netflix fanatic driving series Stranger Things, according to guitarist Clint Lowery. Opening with a washy synth and the band fully embracing their pop sensibilities, this is a welcome change from what has come before. Musically, this is the album’s highlight.
Upon listening back to older Sevendust staples such as ‘Black’, ‘Denial’, and ‘Ugly’, one can conclude that, despite some differences in sound present on ‘All I See Is War’, there’s little on here to turn the heads of naysayers.
Twelve albums in, it’s understandable to live by the mantra “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” But, the band exploring more of their softer side, showcasing more of the chops they clearly have, or simply turning up the strings significantly on the whole (this is only done once during ‘The Truth’, and it lifts the entire song) would showcase more depth and make for a more intriguing listen.
Written by Carlos Zelaya (@carlos_zelaya95)