Courtesy: Rise Records
Veteran hard rock band Sevendust officially returned this summer with its 12th full-length studio recording All I See Is War. Having been released May 11 via Rise Records, its release came almost three years since the release of the band’s 11th album, 2015’s Kill The Flaw. The 12-song album, also the band’s debut for Rise Records, can be said easily, to be one of the Atlanta, Georgia-based band’s best works to date as it takes audiences back to the band’s early days while also adding in a more up-to-date sound in its arrangements. The addition of the songs’ equally interesting lyrical themes to those arrangements makes the album that much more interesting. This is evidenced early on in the album’s run in the form of ‘God Bites His Tongue.’ ‘Risen,’ which comes later in the album’s run, also serves to show what makes this record so interesting. It will be discussed a little later. ‘The Truth,’ which closes out the album is one more example of what makes All I See Is War such an interesting new offering from a group that is one of the hard rock community’s most respected acts, but is certainly not the last of the songs that proves the album’s interest. ‘Medicated,’ another early entry to the album, ‘Cheers,’ the album’s midpoint, and ‘Moments,’ which boasts a similarity to the band’s more recent records, all show in their own way what makes this record stand out in Sevendust’s extensive catalog. Between these songs, the pieces more directly noted and those not noted here, the whole of this 45-minute album proves to be a solid portrait of Sevendust’s past, present and future. Keeping that in mind, it proves to be not only one of Sevendust’s best works to date, but also one of the year’s best new hard rock albums, too.
Sevendust’s latest full-length studio recording All I See Is War is one of the veteran hard rock band’s best albums to date and also one of the year’s best new hard rock albums. That is because its musical and lyrical content overall takes listeners from the band’s early days right through to its present and future. What’s more it does this in convincing fashion throughout the course of the album’s dozen total songs, too. This is evidenced early on in the form of the album’s second song, ‘God Bites His Tongue.’ Musically speaking, this song’s arrangement takes listeners back to the band’s sophomore 1999 album Home, with its heavy, crunching guitars, equally heavy low-end from bassist Vince Hornsby, front man Lajon Witherspoon’s familiar powerhouse melodic vocals and drummer Morgan Rose’s time keeping and familiar backing screams. What is really interesting here is that while the song’s musical arrangement echoes the songs included in Home, it doesn’t try to just re-hash them, but rather show that the band’s members haven’t lost the edge presented in that album. While the song’s arrangement builds a strong foundation for itself, the music alone only takes the song so far. Its lyrical theme strengthens that foundation even more with its deeply philosophical nature. Witherspoon sings in the song’s lead verse, “Face down/Feeding into you/Find the weakness/Holding it down till we kill it/Every once in a while, I get caught in the silver lining/No one ever lives it (what’s the meaning? What’s the meaning?)/Somewhere, we all lost the spirit (Lost it all)/So save us/Just so we know/That the bitter taste/We need it/And we forgive ourselves and leave it all.” He goes on later to sing, “We forgive ourselves in the space that’s between right and wrong/The better days deceived us/And we let ourselves believe it all/And God just bites his tongue.” It’s almost as if the song’s lyrical theme centers somewhat on mankind’s attempts to make himself feel superior while God meanwhile simply observes, letting humankind take its own course, consequences or not. This is, of course, just this critic’s own interpretation of these words. It could easily be wholly off the mark. Hopefully it is at least somewhere in the proverbial ballpark. Right or wrong, it is obvious in listening to the song’s lyrical content, that this song is quite the contemplative work. When the depth in the song’s lyrical theme are coupled with the strength of the song’s musical arrangement, the whole of the song clearly shows by itself why All I See Is War is another standout offering from Sevendust. It is of course just one of the songs included in the album that serves to prove the album’s strength. ‘Risen’ which comes later in the album’s 45-minute run, serves just as much to show the album’s strength.
Where ‘God Bit His Tongue’ lends itself to comparisons to Sevendust’s early works, ‘Risen,’ musically speaking, is more akin to the band’s more recent works. More specifically, the heavy, crunching arrangement in this song is more akin to works from Alpha and Next than the melodic hard rock sounds of, say Home, Animosity and Seasons. The song’s musical arrangement gains even more importance and strength and importance as Witherspoon sings here seemingly about someone’s personal relationship with another, and the issues that come with that troubled relationship. That subject is inferred as he sings, “Turn round/Come down/Been stealing feeling from me/Burned down/No sound/Been killing the life within me/Step down/Last round/Live hating/Loving memory/Break down/We drown/To turn around is everything/It all comes down to what it takes to love/If I fall, would you pick me up/Or kick me down again (Would you stand there with me)/If I tell you my deepest thoughts/Would you hear me out And help me rise again?” This leaves a little room for interpretation, but also less room than the room left in ‘God Bites His Tongue.’ It comes across as someone who has been anything but that supportive friend. This is inferred even more in the second verse as Witherspoon sings, “Not long, so gone/We shame your useless pity/You failed us all/Keep spewing the s*** you tell me/Fall down/So proud/Love hating, living memory/Erase you now.” Again, the song’s subject asks this figure, “If I fall/Would you pick me up/Or kick me down again (Would you stand there with me)/If I tell you my deepest thoughts/Would you hear me out/And help me rise again?” Once again, this hints at the matter of a person dealing with someone who isn’t necessarily entirely supportive of others. The frustration in having to deal with that sort of subject is illustrated powerfully in that aforementioned powerhouse musical arrangement. When the two elements are set alongside one another, they make the song in whole yet another example of what makes this record one of Sevendust’s best albums to date. Also as noted previously, it is not the last of the songs that can be cited in supporting that statement. ‘The Truth’ is one more song that shows the album’s strength.
‘The Truth’ shows All I See Is War’s strength in part through its musical arrangement, which — as with ‘Risen’ – can be likened easily to songs from Alpha and Next. That is proven through its heavy, upbeat, guitar-driven arrangement. It is a fitting finale for the album that shows once more, that while the band might have had some missteps in the forms of Chapter VII: Hope & Sorrow, Cold Day Memory and Black out The Sun, this album is Sevendust back on track and running at full steam. The heavy, driving musical arrangement at the center of the song is just part of what helps its overall presentation. Its equally scathing lyrical content adds to its power. There is a lot of fire in this song’s energy – fire that plays once again into the album’s central theme of war in different ways as has been discussed by the band upon the album’s release. Right from the song’s opening, that fire burns bright with Witherspoon singing so forcefully, “No more time for saving/What the hell did you give/What the hell did you do/Just more numb to waste it/You will men nothing/You will be nothing/One more tragic instant/Lost/Right underneath while you dream/We stay asleep now.” From there, he asks, “Why does it always rain when I wanna see the sunshine/How come you never wanna play the game/Why does it always seem to fade when I wanna be defined/How come you never wanna try to say my name?” The tension expressed in the chorus follows again from there, again leaving — while some room for interpretation – not too much room. This song comes across lyrically as another type of war. A war between two people, one of whom has absolutely caused nothing but anger and frustration for the other, thus the song’s tense musical arrangement. When the tension in that arrangement joins that in the song’s lyrical content, the whole is a song that is one of the album’s strongest and most notable entries, showing once more why this album is among the band’s best work. When it is joined with the previously discussed songs and others not directly noted here, the end result is an album that is certain to impress Sevendust fans across the board.
Sevendust’s 12th full-length studio recording All I See Is War is a welcome return to form for the veteran hard rock band from Atlanta, Georgia. After the release of Chapter VII, Cold Day Memory and Black Out The Sun, this record proves to be a welcome breath of fresh, heavy air from the band for fans. As has been discussed here, that is proven in part through the seeming commentary of ‘God Bites His Tongue.’ It is a work that musically speaking, takes listeners back to Sevendust’s earlier records while its contemplative lyrical content is certain to generate plenty of discussion among listeners. ‘Risen’ and ‘The Truth’ are more akin to more recent albums such as Alpha and Next. Their lyrical content, which seems centered on personal “wars” between people adds even more to the record’s foundation. The inclusion of ‘Medicated,’ Moments’ and ‘Cheers’ to the album strengthens that foundation even more. Between that trio of compositions, the songs more directly noted here and those not discussed, the whole of All I See Is War is the Sevendust album for which so many fans (this critic included) have waited; An album that is easily one of the year’s top new hard rock albums. It is available now in stores and online. More information on All I See Is War is available online now along with all of Sevendust’s latest news and more at:
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