My history with Sevendust has been spotty at best. I was first introduced to them on the Strangeland soundtrack. I remember, shortly after that, having the money to pick up one CD, it came down to the first Sevendust or Coal Chamber albums, Coal Chamber one that battle for a reason I don't remember (probably eenie meenie minie moe). Anyway, I picked up the next two disks, Home and Animosity, then nothing until the most recent release of Next. Now they have a greatest hits disk set to hit the shelves.
It seems like odd timing for this type of collection. The disk covers the first seven years of the career, spanning 4 albums. It does contain 12 rocking tracks from those albums, plus a few unreleased B-sides, so there is plenty here to listen to. I do have a theory as to why this release is timed as it is. Their latest album was released on a new label, Winedark Records, while all of their prior releases were on TVT Records. This must have been the album that got them out of their contract and allowed them to change their label. Anyway, back to the album at hand.
The album opens with a trio from their 1997 debut album, "Black," "Bitch," and "Too Close to Hate." Three songs which demonstrate that talent they had, and the promise of what was still to come. My favorite here would have to be "Too Close to Hate," it has an incredibly heavy vibe and that clipped, sing along style.
Next are four songs from the sophomore release, and my first true introduction, Home. The selections are "Denial," Waffle," "Assdrop," and "Bender," the latter featuring Deftones' Chino Moreno. First thing you may notice is that you may not recognize the name "Assdrop," it was formerly known as "Rumblefish." Why the name change, I could not answer. The other thing to notice is that "Waffle" is not the original album, version, it is an alternate mix from Tom Lord-Alge. These songs a big step forward over their first album, the mix is better, the sound is heavier, and Lajon Witherspoon's vocals are more forward in the mix and overall more aggressive. I would have liked to pick a favorite from these, but they are all excellent songs, I guess if pressed, I would have to go with "Waffle," from its mellow opening to its sludgey riffs, it is a great package.
Following that are three songs from 2001's Animosity, "Angel's Son," "Praise," and "Follow," the latter featuring Staind frontman Aaron Lewis. The first puts the softer side of Sevendust on display, and in particular Lajon's strong, soulful voice, which is capable of conveying that softer side as easily as displaying the aggression which is their trademark. "Praise" keeps the rock heavy and the aggression high during this cycle which resulted in some great songs, and wider range, as the soulful Sevendust is more evident. That brings me to my pick of this trio, "Follow." It has that aggressive undercurrent, but has the soulful trappings of the softer side, it plays up both sides well. This album helped round out the band, expanding their repertoire, yet remaining true to their heavy roots.