The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Enjoy

April 26, 2013

Joe Hadsall: New Sevendust album epic, despite no strong singles

JOPLIN, Mo. — Sevendust and Eiffel 65 are forever linked for me, in a bad way. Thinking about Sevendust always taps into a massive amount of raging jealousy for a friend of mine.

Years ago I worked for 417 Magazine in Springfield, which was then owned by a company that also owned two radio stations and an Internet service provider. The Top 40 radio station was the moneymaker, so when it organized a concert, it was an all-hands-on-deck event.

Such a concert happened: The station booked Eiffel 65, the geniuses behind "Blue (Da Ba Dee)," and a bunch of other B-list hopeful pop bands to perform at a big family friendly concert.

Because all hands were on deck, I worked the concert. I took pictures like crazy, helped pass out T-shirts and put up banners, just like all my co-workers and friends.

Except Terry.

My best friend from high school, who I helped get a job at the company's Internet service provider, got a special assignment.

He got to take one of the vans and pick up a band from the airport. It was Sevendust. They were playing in Springfield at the same time as Eiffel 65.

Freaking Terry.

He came back with all kinds of stories about how awesome they were. "Dude! The lead singer was awesome! He found me and said, ÔWe're here to rock the hell out of this town!'"

Apparently, while I was suffering through "Blue his house, and a blue little window and a blue Corvette," he was talking to the guys that rocked "Denial," "Waffle" and "Black."

I'm still jealous of Terry for that.

 

New album outstanding

I have been a fan of Sevendust since its album "Home" from 1999. I've stuck with the band through the departure and return of guitarist Clint Lowery. The band's unique combination of hard guitar with Lajon Witherspoon's soulful, angry vocals has always made the band one of the most unique in the genre.

Fans could argue about whether the band's apex was with either 2001's "Animosity" or 2003's "Seasons." Both are great albums with a good mix of radio-strong songs and haunting, slower ones. Look up "Angel's Son" or "Skeleton Song" to hear what I mean.

It's that combination I've been missing ever since. The band has released five albums since "Seasons" -- the newest one, "Black Out the Sun," was released last month.

I really wanted to hear that combination again, and didn't get it. In fact, there really isn't an obvious strong single anywhere on the new album. "Decay," which has been playing on radio since January, comes close, but that's it. "Got a Feeling" comes close to that Sevendust-style power ballad I crave, but its weak introduction isn't up to the standards set in previous albums.

Despite that disappointment, "Black Out the Sun" is a phenomenal rock album.

The songs blend much better than any album before it. From the opening march of "Faithless" to the closing "Murder Bar," the album never loses intensity or focus.

High points include "Decay," which feature a surprising unison of guitar, bass and drums in the chorus; "Mountain," a powerful, driving shuffle; "Dark AM," which features an anthemic refrain; and "Picture Perfect," which features sonic creativity that would be trendsetting had Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine not blazed that trail so brilliantly.

The biggest surprise of the album is the guitar work -- Lowery and John Connolly provide some beautiful upgrades to their signature sound. Sevendust songs usually don't feature guitar solos, but the solos on "Cold as War," "Decay" and "Dead Roses" are spine-tingling.

Overall, "Black Out the Sun" is in the running for my favorite album of 2013. It's melodic, metal, massive and while it's not what I wanted, it's what I needed.

1
Text Only
Enjoy
  • 071814_whiskeydicks.jpg Stretching out: Whiskey Dick's can do more in a bigger downtown location

    For the Whiskey Dick's owners, it isn't a matter of what's in a name but more of a place where everybody knows your name.

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • 072514_chubby.jpg Grammy win has kept zydeco singer Chubby Carrier busy

    Since winning a Grammy for Best Zydeco or Cajun Music Album in 2011, Chubby Carrier's schedule has filled up. But he is thrilled to be able to return to Joplin.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 072514_LIVEWIREcar.jpg Livewire's new video debuts on Billboard (w/VIDEO)

    The song is currently on Billboard's Top 40 charts for Texas Music and Texas Regional Radio Report. It is the latest release since the band's first full-length album, "Livin'," which was released in 2012 with Way Out West Records.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Film-Hollywoods Ape M_Cast.jpg Benji Tunnell: Great CGI, solid writing make 'Apes' a near-perfect blockbuster

    A couple of weeks ago, we saw "Transformers 4," a big, computer-driven blockbuster film that was symbolic of all that is wrong with filmmaking today.

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • polyphony.jpg Marta Churchwell: New Mexico marimba group returns for concert Sunday

    They're back. Polyphony Marimba, the Santa Fe, New Mexico, band that wowed the crowd with African music during a Downtown Joplin Third Thursday last summer, received such a response to that performance that they're coming back on Sunday.

    July 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • River Regatta 2013.jpg Dave Woods: Nevada regatta makes for a birthday escape

    In just three weeks, I'll spend my 50th birthday floating down the Colorado River with 35,000 of my closest friends.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo 1 Slideshow 1 Story

  • 071814_pickin trimmin.jpg New festival focuses on short independent films

    As Jack Truman saw his films play in festivals around the world, one lingering thought persisted: He wished that such festivals existed in his hometown area.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • 071614 Glory Days_72.jpg Glory Days Music to resume weekly in-store concerts

    The staff at Glory Days Music have been working their business as usual. Musicians demonstrate guitars, drums and other instruments. Music is sold; lessons are taught. But something has been missing.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • mug_joe-hadsall-112613.jpg Joe Hadsall: All the hidden secrets in "Weird Al's" "Word Crimes" video

    I sincerely believe the "Word Crimes" video will become the most important song in history, and the most mandatory-to-watch video in schools across the country.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • mug_joe-hadsall-112613.jpg Globe Phone Test: Concept is clever, but transitions tricky with Asus PadFone X

    It's kind of embarrassing to point this out, but "Candy Crush Saga" is one of the best ways to illustrate how well the Asus PadFone X, a smartphone and tablet combo really works.

    Anyone who has more than one device will understand this situation completely: Let's say a player fires up "Candy Crush" on his tablet computer and really digs the game. A lot. So much so that he downloads it to his smartphone.

    Only there's one problem: All the progress made on the tablet is stuck on the tablet. The smartphone has a completely separate path of progress, meaning the player has to play each level twice. This makes progress through the game twice as long. (This problem can be fixed by signing up for the game on Facebook, but no one really wants their Facebook friends to know they spend so much time crushin' candy.)

    The Asus PadFone X is the dream solution to this nightmare of a problem.

    Available exclusively from AT&T, the device is actually two devices. A standalone smartphone can be plugged into a tablet computer, meaning the owner can take his pick of how he wants to play the game, and all the progress he makes is saved on one device's hard drive.

    AT&T loaned us a device that we tested for more than two weeks -- didn't like having to send it back -- and we found a lot of its qualities and quirks.

    July 11, 2014 1 Photo