Sunday, June 16, 2013

Sevendust: Black Out The Sun

Black Out the Sun
Reviewed by: Rob Acocella

I feel that at this point in Sevendust's career, it is fair to say that you pretty much know what you're going to get from them when you pick up a new release. You're going to get the same awesome pulse-pounding drum patterns, grungy riffs, and the combo of smooth and aggressive vocals that the band consistently delivers time and again. You know that as long as there wasn't some massive unexpected change in the inner workings of their songwriting, you're going to be happy with the results. Before I even started listening to Black Out The Sun (ok, I had already heard "Decay" and "Got A Feeling") I knew it was going to be classic Sevendust.

There is only one time that this can be a problem, and that's when you're a journalist trying to come up with descriptive words that you haven't used a hundred times already. It's difficult when you have nothing to complain about, but also don't have fresh new synonyms for expressing how a song sounds or how much you like a particular set of lyrics. Anyway, it's not a bad problem to have, so I'll give it a shot:

Black Out The Sun opens with a melodic, and almost symphonic, arrangement called "Memory," and just when you think the album is going to go the way of an Yngwie Malmsteen CD, the audio assault of  "Faithless" hits you in the face like a ton of bricks. This song can be a bit bi-polar with frequent changes between heavy and soft, but it's that main riff and the chorus hook that makes it an aggressive powerhouse to start the album off. "Till Death" is one hell of a rally cry song, with layers of aggressive vocals ranging from LJ's signature sound to something a little more Death Metal, as well as Morgan Rose's unmistakeable yelling from behind the kit. "Mountain" and "Cold As War" pick up the pace with a more uplifting vibe and then give way to the title track, which brings things down to a more mid-tempo pace temporarily.

A few songs later, we find the single "Decay," which harkens back to early Sevendust. It's a more vintage-style song for the band, and it sounds as though they went back to their first few albums for the inspiration on this song. It's an obvious choice for a single and that would explain why there was a video made for it. (Click the link here or scroll down for the video.)

When it comes to slow-tempo, my favorite Sevendust track had always been "Angel's Son" but on Black Out The Sun they tucked in a little gem near the end of the album called "Got A Feeling" which just tied neck and neck with "Angel's Son" for my favorite semi-acoustic Sevendust song. I'm a sucker for a good acoustic melody and harmonized vocals and they really knocked it out of the park with this one. I'm not going to lie, as a photographer and budding videographer, if there aren't already plans in place for a video for this song, I'd love to someday help with creating that. Yeah, I like it that much.

The album closes with "Murder Bar" which brings us back to the grungy riffs and schizophrenic drum patterns that you come to expect already. The song fades out the end of the album with a spacey treatment that eases you out into nothingness, or right back into the album opener (if you've got your CD player or iTunes set to repeat).

A solid effort that I can't really find any flaws with. I can always rely on Sevendust to put out quality songwriting and not stray too far from the band's signature vibe that made me love them in the first place. I haven't caught them on tour for this album yet, but I have no doubt in my mind that some of these songs will fit their aggressive, high-energy live show perfectly, and I look forward to catching them soon.

Rating: 5/5

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