Everyone that knows something about metal in the 2000s knows that Sevendust stand as absolute titans of the alt-metal genre. These guys have been going strong 26 kick-ass years: so they probably know a thing or two about nu-metal and its evolution into the new decade. Though I wasn’t around for the golden-age of nu-metal, I could tell how well the record delivered flawless instrumentation, coupled with a crisp, modern sound. Blood & Stone turned an unsuspecting Gen Z onto a genre he previously ignored, and that, to me, is the mark of a great album.
Our heavy-metal boys start us off with “Dying to Live,” which stood out as one of my favorites. It’s a raging groove combining catchy hooks in the chorus and absolutely filth in the verses. It definitely set the mood for the rest of the album. Indeed, the production on Blood & Stone is entirely consistent and suits the tracks perfectly. A balanced low-end kept things heavy without getting muddied out and leaves the space for Clint Lowery and John Connoly’s guitar work to shine. In fact, with my metal references in mind, it felt like a lot of the riffs had a modern stoner-metal or even thrash-metal influence to them, reminding me of recent Mastodon or Eyehategod.
But there’s no mistaking the obvious personal touch of Lowery’s lead work, which seemed to always creep in at just the right moments. Lajon Whiterspoon’s vocals give way for memorable lyrics and an unquestionable emotional delivery. This was most apparent on tracks “What You’ve Become” and “Alone”. Although my favorites were “Feel Like Going On” and “Desperation,” probably because of founders Morgan Rose’s crushing drums and Vince Horsnby’s destructive bass playing. The album closes with “The Day I Tried To Live,” which was just the cherry on top. I felt that it was a heart-felt appreciation of a band that clearly inspired them, and it’s also one of my all-time favorite Soundgarden songs. A great tribute to Chris Cornell.
So, although I thoroughly enjoyed this album, I gotta lay down my critiques. These probably all boil down to personal taste, and I can’t criticize anything technical. Honestly, I just want to see how Sevendust could bring out even more of their personality in future releases. The Soundgarden cover was great, but I want them to show us what else influenced them, even if it’s from other genres. I’m a consumer who likes to have diversity and unexpected twists in the soundscape, perhaps a fault of the “short-attention span” generation, so I’d encourage Sevendust to incorporate that into their signature sound and challenge their creativity even more, because it’s crazy good so far.
I highly recommend this album to anybody looking for a super dynamic heavy-metal record with blasting riffs and soaring vocals. I also consider it to have great replay value just because of how much it impressed me. Blood & Stone leaves me wanting to check out the rest of their discography, and I think it could do the same to you.
Written by Davide Spinato
*Edited by Dominic Abate