Sevendust has a long record of excellence behind them. It started with the days when they were Crawlspace and had a song on the soundtrack Mortal Kombat: More Kombat. Then, with the release of their self-titled CD (which wasn't warmly received until TVT Records got behind the first single, "Black"), it just exploded from there. Sure, there have been some stumbling blocks along the way, but they've gone pretty damn far. However, they've somewhat gained a reputation; open for Sevendust and you'll be bigger than Sevendust. After all, look at Staind, Godsmack, Powerman 5000, Kittie, and most recently, Drowning Pool. Sevendust wasn't happy about this, so they named their new CD Animosity, saying what they felt about it. Which is somewhat misleading, as it's their most melodic and musical outing. But don't get me wrong, Sevendust is still kicking your ass.
Right from the start, Sevendust sets out to remind you that they rock harder than most bands. "(Useless As) Tits On A Boar" kicks things off and lets you know they mean business. And then they start showing off some of the new things in their bag of tricks. A little synth in "Praise." Some odd guitar effects in a lot of the songs. And then, the first of two ballads; "Xmas Day", a ballad- but it does seem somewhat forced. Still an okay song, but it could have been left out. And then, here comes what you might think is another ballad in "Shine," but you'd be wrong. It kicks in and is one of the standout tracks on the CD. A personal favorite track, "Follow," is next. Yes, it has Aaron Lewis on it. But the song was written long before he was involved, and his vocal contribution is actually useful and well executed. Never overbearing, not the spotlighted singer... it's just good. The song is brooding, but it's well written. From there, the CD just steamrolls you (with a small break for the song "Live Again")... right until "Angel's Son." It's a reworked version of the song that Lajon and Clint did with the surviving members of Snot on the Strait Up compilation. But this is all Sevendust. It's different, and it's plugged in. Give it a listen... and if you don't feel something... your heart isn't working right.
There are a lot of good things about this CD, with only one track going against it. The guitars on this disc are incredibly well done. Lots of power, and a good sampling of experimental effects and ideas. In terms of the bass, it keeps things moving, and plays a mostly support role, but it gets to come out every once in a while. The drumming from Morgan Rose is worth noting- he's very on top of the beat but never goes outside of it. Vocally, there's a lot of amazing singing on Animosity. Lajon's voice is soulful and aggressive, at the same time. Also, the backing vocals from Morgan and the rest of the band are worth noting, because they add a lot of texture to the songs. Additionally, the production on this CD is outstanding. It's all glued together in a nice package, and it never feels out of place. The way each track comes together is something to behold.
Overall, this is Sevendust's most solid effort ever. The debut self-titled was pretty tight, but it was more metal sounding. Then Home was an aggressive disc, but not nearly so solid as the debut. But Animosity is their best disc, by and far. It's balanced, and feels like a complete work, not just a bunch of songs thrown together, which is what Home felt like. If they can't make some real headway and become the headliner they can be with this disc, there's no justice in the music world. Animosity is possibly the best disc of 2001. But it's 2002 now- can they endure the new releases? I think so, and you will too.
Currently Listening To: Linkin Park- "In The End"