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Music Review: Sevendust – Sevendust (Definitive Edition) CD/DVD

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There was a gap in music in 1997 that was begging to be filled. The Grammy winners for that year, Tracy Chapman "Give Me One Reason" (Best Rock Song) and Dave Matthews Band "So Much To Say" (Best Rock Vocal Group) proved that rock music was in desperate trouble. Korn, Rob Zombie, and Rage Against the Machine were forced to carry the world of metal on their shoulders.

What the world needed was an infusion of raw, kick-ass rock and roll, something to wash away the taste of hairband, something that didn't come packaged in flannel shirts and ripped jeans.

Enter Sevendust. Produced by the band themselves, this self-titled album release promised to not only shake up the world of metal, but to punch a hole in the lethargy that was threatening to overwhelm rock music.

The name alone defined a genre as yet untitled. They were hardcore, heavy metal, rock and roll, yet there was an underlying foundation of soulful R&B and a funk backbone that couldn't be denied. That foundation was what separated Sevendust from their contemporaries.

The album, like the band, was a combination of all of the music and influences that emanate throughout the heart of Atlanta. Sevendust had managed to take in everything that their hometown had to offer musically, five open vessels being filled by one of the most musically eclectic cities in the world, and spit it back out in a way that was totally in-your-face. The music was driven by metal. The lyrics were raw, brutally honest. The combination was mind-blowing. Their lives, their struggles; everything they loved and hated came pouring out in a gut-wrenching flood.

When Sevendust was first released there were many comparisons to Living Color, mainly due to the popularity of the song "Bitch", not an unexpected comparison, lead singer Lajon Witherspoon does sound very much like Corey Glover on that track. The combination of funk and pounding metal, along with the writhing, soulful vocals made it difficult for reviewers to do what they do best, compare and recommend.

Other than the song "Bitch" there really wasn't anyone to compare them to. Spin Magazine's Jon Weiderhorn compared them to Living Color of course, along with Faith No More and Testament. I absolutely couldn't agree more. I absolutely couldn't agree less, either. And that's the beauty of this album, it just completely defies comparisons. Maybe King's X, but definitely more metal-driven–and that's perhaps due to another underlying element in this album, the co-production duties were covered by two of New York's finest heavy metal soundmasters, Jay Jay French and Mark "The Animal" Mendoza. Sevendust and Twisted Sister — An explosive combination that probably should have carried a fire marshall's warning.

The re-mastered, re-issue of this album, Sevendust (Definitive Edition) includes all of the original tracks including the band's breakthrough hits "Black" and "Bitch", it also contains bonus tracks, "Breathe", "Bitch" (Live), "Prayer" (Live), "Terminator" (Breathe Remix), and a cover of Alice Cooper's "School's Out".

As part of the re-issue Sevendust has included a DVD with the band's original introductory film, Live and Loud staged at Chicago's Metro, a must see for those who missed the band's introduction in 1997. It also includes their 1997 video Press Kit and a behind the scenes film featuring live performances.

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