Sevendust have released Time Travelers and Bonfires, an acoustic album that is emotional, powerful and a testament to the skill and feeling that lies beneath the heavy grooves of their music. They are one of the bands like deftones who I feel had a lot more to offer than just being lumped in with nu metal. These guys are simply great songwriters and friends, serious road dogs the likes of which most bands never come close to matching, plus Lajon Witherspoon is a natural vocal talent. Lajon’s voice can be bold and catchy while still feeling human, an all too forgotten facet of what makes music translate beyond shitty pop songs with no life. Sevendust are all about life, in their music and on the stage.
I just saw these guys last night in NYC on the tour for this record, so I am fucking fired up. I am reviewing that show for another publication but I had to throw up an album review for you die-hards today. This record was funded by a direct-to-fan campaign through PledgeMusic, and it really sounds like a fan centric release. The dust boys offer up 6 classics with 6 new songs, from the trippy and hypnotic but melancholy dance of “Under It All” to a thrillingly different take on their hit “Denial”. While of course there are some songs I would have loved to hear that didn’t make the cut (actually just one- the brilliant “Dead Set” from animosity, which has some of Lajon’s all time best lyrics), this acoustic album is totally satisfying anyway.
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“The Wait” is a total torch song with beautiful guitar by Clint Lowery and John Connolly, the band sounding like one entity, while mid career “Karma” retains a lot of fire. Recorded at Architekt Studios in New Jersey, a place which has breathed new life into the band in recent years, this album pops with vibrancy like sparks from the bonfire mentioned in the title. Strings and keys accentuate the songs and add more depth, and it works to such a degree that it really is a wonder to hear how great the familiar songs in the batch are stripped of distortion. Haters may not like melody but without some of the so called nu metal guitar tones you have to just face the bare bones great songwriting and shut the fuck up. Haters of this band are seriously morons. If you don’t think they can bring it with the best of them, listen to “Clueless” from Alpha and learn your lesson.
“Upbeat Sugar” has an incredibly memorable bassline and hook. Hopefully this song will get the electric treatment at some point. “Cause I was born to be an endless tragedy, for all the world to come and see”, sings Witherspoon. The irony is that the band have so many great songs dealing with loss or death and change, from “Gone” to the ever popular “Angel’s Son” (the latter of which is not redundantly featured, but which they are playing on the tour). They have brought comfort to a lot of people.
Some stuff you wouldn’t think would work like the usually stomping “Trust” gets paired down to just the basic hooks and emotion, with the trademark Morgan Rose hoarse shouted backups making no appearance. “Crucified” meanwhile gets reworked into a toe tapping, rhythmic shuffling journey into facing lies.
There’s not much more I can say other than that if you want sme variety to your record collection and can use some warm acoustic guitar and songs you can really absorb, fall into and sing along with, than this is entirely worth your time.