Sevendust has, throughout the course of its now 26 years in existence, been considered to be one of the hardest working bands in the rock community. That is because of the band’s seemingly nonstop touring and its studio product. Founding member and guitarist Clint Lowery added to that reputation Friday when he released his new EP Grief & Distance. The five-song record was released as a surprise to everyone, as there was no buildup ahead of its release. According to information provided by publicists, the record is a collection of songs that Lowery recently wrote following the recent death of his mother and the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. The record, whose release comes less than five months after the release of his debut solo album God Bless The Renegades, is an interesting new offering. That is due in part to the basis of the songs, especially as it relates to the arrangements. This will be discussed shortly. The record’s makeup is another important factor to discuss. It will be addressed a little later. It is both a positive and a negative for the record’s presentation. All things considered, the EP is an interesting new offering, but in the bigger picture of Lowery’s body of work, comes up short, but not necessarily in the worst way.
Grief & Distance is an intriguing new offering from Sevendust guitarist Clint Lowery. The five-song EP, which was one of those surprise releases that artists put out from time to time, is a powerful new offering from Lowery. The catch is that because it is such an emotionally impacting record, it is not a presentation that audiences will find themselves taking in on a regular basis. As noted already, press releases distributed Friday about the EP’s release, cited Lowery as saying the three original songs that make up the bulk of the EP’s body were crafted in response to the passing of his mother and to the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak. To its defense, it isn’t the first record of its kind to ever be released. Plenty of other albums and EPs (and even movies) have been released over the years that require audiences to be in a certain mindset in order to be appreciated. However, just as with those other releases, taking such an approach ultimately reduces the frequency of play. Keeping that in mind, these very reserved, melancholy musical works prove ultimately to be problematic for the EP, but it doesn’t necessarily keep the album from being heard. It just limits the frequency with which audiences will take in the EP.
As much as the EP’s arrangements make it problematic, the record’s makeup makes up for that issue, at least slightly. To the positive, it can be said that the record does have at least three original songs versus its two alternate takes of songs from his debut LP. In other words, the original make up more than half of the record’s body. Adding even more to that discussion is the fact that the songs are, as noted, original works. They are not just songs that did not make the final cut for God Bless The Renegades. Had these songs just been previously recorded but unreleased songs, that would have been another negative, but thankfully that was not the case. To that end, the record’s makeup actually does justify it as a viable EP. It is the record’s main saving grace
While the record’s overall makeup is a positive in its bigger picture, there is still a concern with the makeup in another sense. The concern is that all three of the originals and even the acoustic takes of the previously released songs are all very brooding, moody songs. In a time in which people need some kind of hope (even if it is false hope), people need that comfort. This brings everything full circle back to the earlier discussion on the mood of the songs. Had Lowery chosen acoustic takes perhaps of some of his heavier material from God Bless The Renegades in place of the two songs featured here, it might have helped things. The mood and tone of the two acoustic songs only continues the very melancholy mood that permeates the EP’s originals. If he was trying to make up for that mood with these two extras, the attempt failed. Keeping that in mind, it detracts from the record’s presentation that much more. Keeping this in mind along with everything else noted here, the end result of Grief & Distance is that it makes itself a record from which listeners may find themselves putting some distance.
Clint Lowery’s surprise EP Grief & Distance is a work that will appeal to a very targeted, specific audience base. That is due in part to the fact that Lowery crafted the album while he himself was in a very specific mindset. That understanding help lead to an understanding about the fact that the songs are musically and lyrically very melancholy and brooding. While the EP’s content will impact the size of its listener base, one good thing that can be said of this EP is that it does qualify as an EP considering its overall makeup. Sadly though, that is its one positive. The two alternate takes of songs featured in God Bless The Renegades detract from the record’s presentation even more in that they do little to offset the very melancholy feel and sound that runs throughout the record. Between this matter and the EP’s overall mood and sound, it becomes a presentation that will find a difficult time resonating with audiences, save for those who are in the same mindset that Lowery was in crafting the record. To that end, it is worth at least one listen, but sadly not much more than that.
More information on the album is available online now along with all of Lowery’s latest news at:
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