REVIEW: SEVENDUST – “Kill The Flaw”
As we move into the end of the year, it is interesting to see what the final few months will hold. It has been one helluva ride so far, with many highs and lows and plenty in between. Now, with their new album ‘Kill The Flaw’, one of Metal’s heaviest and catchiest bands return to leave their mark on 2015. Sevendust are no strangers to varied criticism, though more often than not, they are heavily underrated. Can the same be said for their latest work?
“Thank You” is our introduction to the album, and it is everything the band’s fans love about them: big riffs and hooks, and a chorus that pulls you in, envelops you and spits you back out. One track in, and the forever welcomed familiar Sevendust sound takes hold. “Death Race” takes a heavier approach to their songwriting, and the band seems to draw influence from all over. From Korn to Dream Theater and even hints of Pearl Jam in vocal styles, this track is hard to pin the badge of originality on to, but keeps the momentum going nicely.
Lajon Witherspoon takes his distinctive vocals to the forefront on “Forget” as he sings “the only day lived is the day we die”. With a weight in his words and on his heart, Witherspoon takes “Forget” in his grip and drives it with a heavy foot. Next, we are given a prime example of the difference between a good track and a great track.”Letters” takes the album to a whole new level, and where it is somber in parts, the power instead oozes from the group’s delivery. This emotional sincerity propels “Letters”from a good track to a blatant album standout here.
Strong thus far with an ever building momentum, the album hits its first lull with “Cease and Desist”. By no means a bad track as is proved particularly by Morgan Rose’s ability to play technical drumming while keeping it fluid, it simply doesn’t stand up to some of the other tracks. A similar thing can be said for its follower “Not Today”, as the album begins to take a turn down a road best left untraveled. All is almost forgiven when we reach “Chop”. Though it is not the strongest track on the album, it is one of the most interesting in regards to their songwriting and style. Particularly in the verses, Sevendust veer from their regular mid-tempo groove riffs and instead work around something a little more loose, as if they were just jamming. If you can imagine Ill Nino with an acoustic guitar at your backyard party, you can get an idea of what sound is going on here!
Straight off the bat, another album highlight can be found in the title track “Kill The Flaw”. Some of the strongest moments take place on this track both lyrically and musically. It is destined to become a fan favourite, as well as finding its way into Sevendust’s set list for a long time to come. The odd titled “Silly Beast” is as odd a title as its place on the album. Little can be said about it other than it comes across as pure filler and, unfortunately, as the album makes its way to its closing tracks, they themselves follow suit. From “Silly Beast” on to “Peace and Destruction” and finally album closer “Torched”, the songs lack heavily on many levels.
On a production level, there seems to be little to no effort made in giving these songs their own voice. Sevendust have varied songwriting styles, methods and results; this is no secret, but here, the writing comes across as lazy, with the last act of ‘Kill The Flaw’ especially suffering and becoming easily forgettable.
Sevendust have produced some incredible work throughout the years – arguably the most memorable being ‘Cold Day Memory’ – and they are credible songwriters, having proved themselves as such so many times. When this album is strong, it is blatantly so, but the same can be said for its weak points. If this is a transition for the band, then it is a strong effort in their movement. But one can only hope that this is the case, and that ‘Kill The Flaw’ is not being flaunted as the band’s strongest work to date. Maybe there is some serendipity to be found in this, as the album title may in fact suggest what should have been done before it was given a release date.