Album: Blood & Stone
Label: Rise Records / BMG / ADA Warner
Under any and all circumstances, brothers depend on each other. Maintaining an unspoken, yet unbreakable bond for nearly three decades, Sevendust draw strength from one another on their thirteenth full-length and second release for Rise Records, Blood & Stone. The GRAMMY® Award-nominated Atlanta quintet—Lajon Witherspoon [lead vocals], Clint Lowery [lead guitar, backing vocals], John Connolly [rhythm guitar, backing vocals], Vince Hornsby [bass, backing vocals], and Morgan Rose [drums, backing vocals]—weather anything the world throws at them as a unit.
Not only do they stand strong together, but they also come out swinging as a raw, real, and relevant force.
“At this point, we’ve gone through all of the shit you can imagine,” Morgan remarks. “We’ve been beaten down to the ground, left on the verge of bankruptcy, and robbed blind by people who were supposed to be taking care of us. We’ve dealt with divorces and addiction. However, music has been our way of leaning on each other through all of it. We find a way to work through everything. This band means more to me now than it ever did, because we built something really special and still put on a show worthy of being in the game.”
“This is a bunch of guys who share a mutual respect and love,” adds Lajon. “We grew up together. When we go in and write, it’s a cool and magical experience. It was relevant then; it’s relevant now. We always consider our fans family. Hopefully, Blood & Stone helps them.”
Sevendust built a legacy out of records and stages left soaked in blood, sweat, and tears. Since their formation in 1994, they delivered three classic gold-certified albums—Sevendust , Home , and Animosity —and sold upwards of three million records worldwide. Seasons , Cold Day Memory , and Kill The Flaw  each bowed in the Top 15 of the Billboard Top 200. The latter’s lead single “Thank You” received a nomination in the category of “Best Metal Performance” at the 2016 GRAMMY® Awards, representing a career first. Along the way, they sold out countless shows around the globe and lit up iconic festivals such as Sonic Temple, Woodstock, OZZfest, and Shiprocked! 2018’s All I See Is War earned some of the best reviews of the group’s career as Associated Press claimed, “The band does what it wants and deserves as many ears as possible.” Energized by a particularly prolific period, Sevendust reconvened at Studio Barbarosa with Michael “Elvis” Baskette [Alter Bridge, Trivium, Slash] during late 2019. Fresh from All I See Is War and respective solo outings, Clint and John literally fired on all cylinders.
“John had just done a bunch of writing for Projected, and Clint had just recorded his solo album, so they were both in writing mode,” recalls Morgan. “The riffs were developed. It had already started to take shape very early. With those guys being so prepared, the writing was seamless. Instead of getting tapped out, they got even better.”
Sevendust throw a curveball by introducing Blood & Stone to the world with a haunting, hypnotic, and hard-hitting cover of Soundgarden’s “The Day I Tried To Live.” It preserves the spirit of the original while bringing a sense of stark soul.
“I have no idea why in the fuck we tried to bite that one off,” laughs Morgan. “Chris Cornell is arguably the greatest singer of many generations, and we’re all big fans. Overall, we did our homework and stayed close to the original, but Lajon killed it.”
“Clint and I actually went to see Soundgarden right when Sevendust was starting as a band,” recalls Lajon. “It was an experience I’ll never forget. Chris Cornell had a fearless energy live. It was just incredible. They’re an inspiration to all of us and people everywhere. I came in with a humble heart and just did what I do.”
Meanwhile, the album opener and single “Dying To Live” tosses and turns between crushing distortion and harmonic squeals before Lajon carries one of the band’s catchiest choruses to date. Tight grooves give way to whispers on the bridge before screams take hold again.
“It’s one of those heavy-hitters,” grins Lajon. “With what’s been going on in the world, it’s a song that really punches.”
“‘Dying To Live’ has everything the band embodies,” adds Morgan. “There are songs like ‘Denial’ we all agreed on. ‘Dying To Live’ is another one. It’s exactly what we’re about and might be the most profound tune we’ve come up with in a long time. There are hooks all over it!”
Clean guitar slips into a head-spinning bounce on “Blood From A Stone.” The track subsides on a sweeping refrain, “Sorry for the things that I have done. You took it from me like blood from a stone.”
“It’s any relationship where the other person wants to suck every drop out of you,” Morgan continues. “It’s something everyone has been through.”
Elsewhere, an airy guitar lead resounds as “Criminal” runs towards a striking vocal run culminating on a question, “Who’s our hero now if I’m so criminal?” From the bludgeoning “Love” to the delicate delivery of “Kill Me,” Blood & Stone highlights the scope of Sevendust’s signature style. “Wish You Well” leaves off on a unified statement, “We pull together through the worst.”
“We wanted to end with something powerful,” affirms Lajon. “It felt like the perfect conclusion.”
In the end, the brotherhood at the heart of Sevendust burns brightly.
“When we do anything, it’s real, and it’s from the heart,” Lajon leaves off. “We mean every word we write. I can’t wait for the Sevendust family to hear Blood & Stone. I hope it opens more doors. I never take this journey for granted. I can’t wait for what’s next.”
“We have the most loyal base of supporters I’ve ever seen,” Morgan concludes. “They’ve been here for so long. We delivered a solid record. We’re a blue-collar band, and we’re going to grind it all the way out. I know our loyalty will keep us where we are.” — Rick Florino, June 2020
Infos zur vorherigen VÖ:
Album: All I See Is War
Label: Rise Records / BMG / ADA Warner
Music unifies us when we need unification the most. It gives people a reason to put differences aside and come together.
In 1994, Sevendust first forged a familial tie amongst each other that translated into one of the most diehard audiences in the game. To this day, the connection between fans and the GRAMMY® Award-nominated, gold-certified hard rock outfit only grows stronger. For their twelfth full-length and first release for Rise Records, All I See Is War, the quintet—Lajon Witherspoon [lead vocals], Clint Lowery [lead guitar, backing vocals], John Connolly [rhythm guitar, backing vocals], Vince Hornsby [bass], and Morgan Rose [drums]—did the best thing they could possibly do to combat all of the division in the streets and on social media.
As Connolly puts it, they simply “made a Sevendust record.”
“We’re as polarized as we’ve ever been,” he continues. “Discussion is not happening. Everyone is so quick to snap online. We’re not listening. We’re just talking. In these songs, we don’t sugarcoat what’s going on. For as dark as the subject matter may be, it’s about hope. We know we can be in a better spot, because we’ve seen so many different individuals come together around music.”
“We take pride in the connection we have,” adds Lowery. “We’ve always been a people’s band. We’re typical guys who just happen to make a career on stage. With this relationship to the fans, we realize how much we need each other, so we push ourselves to deliver. We don’t stop. We keep moving.”
That’s exactly what these five musicians do every time they get in the studio or on stage. A trifecta of now-classic gold albums—Sevendust , Home , and Animosity — ignited their journey. Known as an equally intense and unforgettable live force, they’ve consistently packed houses around the world and decimated stages everywhere from Rock on the Range and Woodstock to OZZfest and Shiprocked! 2015’s Kill The Flaw represented a high watermark. Bowing at #13 on the Billboard Top 200, it scored their highest debut on the respective chart since 2010 and marked their fifth consecutive Top 10 on the Top Rock Albums Chart and third straight Top 3 on the Hard Rock Albums Chart. Most impressively, the lead single “Thank You” garnered a nomination in the category of “Best Metal Performance” at the 2016 GRAMMY® Awards, a career first.
At the top of 2017, the boys discussed what would become their next offering. Instead of diving right in, they took advantage of an eight-month writing process, which proved to be a breath of fresh air.
“Without a doubt, it might’ve been the longest writing process we’ve had for any project other than the first one,” affirms Connolly. “We didn’t need to hop in the studio and punch out a record in a month. We wanted to bring our A-game.”
After sessions in their native Atlanta and at Lowery’s spot in St. Louis, the group headed down to Orlando in order to record at Studio Barbarosa with Michael “Elvis” Baskette [Alter Bridge, Trivium, Slash]. Over the years, they maintained a friendship with the producer amplified by the praises of longtime comrades Alter Bridge and Connolly whose Projected utilized his mixing talents on their debut.
However, this would be Sevendust’s first time working with him.
“The energy was great,” smiles Witherspoon. “At one point, I did seven songs in four days. He really challenged me as a vocalist. We all just gelled. We’ve always talked about doing something for years and years. It was a long time coming. From the first moment we walked into his house, you could feel it. There hadn’t been another band who lived there before. We capitalized on the meeting of the minds. It was a brotherhood.”
“We haven’t had a producer since Cold Day Memory,” Clint goes on. “Elvis was so hands-on. He made us try new transitions and step up our game. Sonically, he opened up a lot of doors that I don’t think we would’ve gone through if he hadn’t been there. We preserved the essence of what we are, but we took chances. Lyrically, we captured what we’ve gone through, all of the rough times, and the changes.”
They introduce All See Is War with the opener and first single “Dirty.” Pummeling drums and driving distortion underscore a soulful proclamation from Witherspoon as he croons, “I’m no stranger to this thing called war.” The guitars crescendo into an expansive refrain that immediately imprints itself before a hummable solo.
“I freestyled that first line,” recalls Witherspoon. “It’s something I haven’t done since ‘Angel’s Son.’ I think it set the tone for the whole thing. It was pretty magic.”
“Someone wants to see you fail, and it really aggravates this person that you’re persevering and surviving anyway,” explains Lowery. “The lyric ‘I’m gonna die whole’ means not being extinguished, getting through, and pissing off your enemies.”
The neck-snapping guttural groove of “Meidcated” gives way to another unshakable chant.
“The subject matter is a bit different,” states Connolly. “Porcupine Tree’s Fear of a Blank Planet is arguably one of my favorite records. The idea is similar to ‘Andromeda.’ These pharmaceutical companies have made it so everyone is hooked on something. You don’t even know why you’re on these medications. All of last year’s horrific suicides were linked to a pill. Think about the opioid crisis. It asks, ‘Can we just stop?’”
Slyly nodding to Lowery’s love for Stranger Things, “Not Original” thrives on airy, cinematic guitars that unfurl into one of Witherspoon’s bluesiest and boldest performances.
“We wanted to get into some new territory,” elaborates Lowery. “It’s about being in a dry spell and not able to find creativity. You don’t want to repeat yourself. I thought I’d go for this new wave thing, because I was watching a lot of Stranger Things.”
Nailing the “old school vibe,” “Risen” drops a hard-hitting and hypnotic hook that’s primed to set festivals ablaze. “You’re down and out looking for hope,” explains Connolly. “You ask the question, ‘Are you going to kick me while I’m still down, or are you going to help me stand up and get through this?’”
In the end, that’s what the music of Sevendust does. It empowers listeners, lifts them up, and lets them know they’re part of the family.
“This band means family to me,” Witherspoon leaves off. “I wake up and can’t believe this is what I do for a living. I still feel like that 20-year-old kid who signed a record deal a zillion years ago. Sevendust is also home. Even though we’ve been doing this forever, it feels like the beginning.
“This what we are,” concludes Connolly. “It’s just another new version of Sevendust.”