Sevendust are a veteran band that weathered the nu metal storms of the nineties to continue to make viable easily-listening music. They have remained true to what they do despite the trends of a music scene that changes with every slight variation in the heavy metal periodic chart.
They are somewhat edgier than a church bake sale, professional to a San Andreas Fault and a great source of low-fiber alt rock melodies. The music industry thrives on the back of bands like Sevendust. Without bands like Sevendust who dig the ditches and bring home steady paychecks, there would be no money to build the highways to hell for bands like Carnifex, Deafheaven, Mutoid Man and others.
Time Travelers & Bonfires finds Sevendust actually jumping on a recent trend. Sevendust walk away from the tyranny of the greedy record barons, and take the crowd-sourcing route to finance what essentially is a collection of greatest hits along with some new songs played with multi-layered acoustic guitars.
It’s all the rage to ask the fans to pay for your new record up front, and it has to be very gratifying for Sevendust to spin the Beg-O-Meter one and a half times past their goal. The Kickstarters will rejoice, the tour bus will get new tires and Lajon Witherspoon, Clint Lowrey and company will have another year in front of them.
So what do the fans get for their support? They get a fifty-fifty mix of crowd pleasers and songs that have probably been kicking around for years. “Come Down” opens up the show and despite its title, it doesn’t disappoint. In fact, it’s downright ok. It’s the freshest sounding track on the album and the one that sports the most production, programming and mysterious chemistry to guarantee airplay.
Witherspoon is the focus on all the songs and especially so on “Come Down.” He’s always been a controlled modulator of the melody, a vocalist who gets it right and never leaves a bad aftertaste. The so-called acoustic treatment of the songs would lead you to believe that the boys broke out the Martins and did the unplugged routine. Time Travelers & Bonfires is just a rework of the set list using a less aggressive orchestration. The arrangements are pared down a hair to let Lajon use more of the spotlight than usual, but there are no surprises. This isn’t live at open-mic night in some Chicago dive bar.
Metal fans who like their metal straight up with a twist of lemon, will likely pass on this 12-pack of Kirkland beer. For those diehards who paid to hear yet another take on tracks like “Trust,” Denial,” “Karma” and “Black,” drink hearty and party to a Sevendust pushing hard on the soulful pedal..
(released April 15, 2014 on 7Bros Records)