By: Dr. Matt Warnock
After being basically bankrupt in 2005 and 2006, having been the victims of poor label management and an accountant who hadn’t paid their taxes, the band found themselves with maxed-out credit cards and a mounting debt that floated somewhere around a million bucks.
While this is normally the part where a voiceover would enter and tell the VHI: Behind the Music viewers that the band decided to part ways, signaling their demise, the guys in Sevendust decided to stick it through. They fought back with 2008’s Chapter VII: Hope & Sorrow, an apt title if there ever was one, and are now back with their eyes firmly fixed on the top of the Metal world with Cold Day Memory.
The new album also features the return of lead guitarist Clint Lowery, who left the band in 2004 to take the guitar reins in his brother’s band Dark New Day. Lowery’s effect is felt immediately on the album as he contributes a sick, speed-picking riff to the opening of the album’s lead off track “Splinter,” which also features some nice nods to Industrial rocker Marilyn Manson.
Lowrey’s kick-ass guitar work doesn’t stop there, as his lead lines add that extra bit of energy that any Metal band needs to be successful. Even a line as simple as the intro to “Unraveling” acts as the perfect lead in to the first verse, setting up the rest of the song in a subtle, yet engaging fashion. Lowery is a player who knows when to shred and when to lay back and groove on a melodic-based riff, skills that have made him one of the biggest names on today’s Metal guitar scene.
From a lyrical standpoint, the album is as strong as anything released this year in the Metal genre, and the mixing of the vocals really brings Lajon Witherspoon’s powerful voice to the forefront of the band, without taking anything away from the rest of the group or songs.
As a whole, the record’s production value is first rate, which is not surprising since Metal mega-producer Johnny K was being the helm for the album. K, who is best known for his work with Disturbed, Staind, Finger Eleven and 3 Doors Down, isn’t the only reason that Sevendust is returning to the level of recognition and success they deserve, but you can’t deny that having a producer with his experience and expertise behind the mixing board is a plus for any band.
At the very least, K was able to bring out the best from the band, resulting in a stellar performance from the entire group, something that might have been in doubt given what the band has gone through over the past five years. Also, Lowrey’s return could have easily caused a distraction, or forced the band to take time to adjust to his guitar sound being back in the band, but after listening to the record it sounds as if Clint never left. His transition back into the band is seamless, and only leaves fans with the hope that he sticks around for years to come.
Cold Day Memory is a killer release, and one that should act to propel the band into the new decade with a renewed sense of confidence, hopefully forgetting, at least somewhat, the events that haunted them for the majority of the past decade. If this record is any indication of things to come, then we could be hearing great things from a band that has more than paid their dues, and come screaming back onto the scene, leaving no doubt that they deserve to be included next to the biggest names in Metal today.