Sevendust's Home appears just in time to cash in on the
"sports-metal" (a combination of hard rock, funk and hip-hop) craze that's
sweeping the nation, as evidenced by the success of bands like the
enormously popular Limp Bizkit. Sevendust, an Atlanta-based outfit,
predate the rage for oversized shorts, Adidas sneakers and heavy,
funkified guitar riffs. They first appeared under the name Crawlspace
with the single "My Ruin," on the Mortal Kombat: More Kombat
soundtrack in 1995, when Pearl Jam were still seen as an "important"
rock band and grunge was shivering in its flannel-laden death throes.
After a more straightahead, metallic, eponymous debut in 1997 as Sevendust,
the boyz have now returned sporting a slightly revamped sound that fits in
well with the aforementioned "sports-metal" genre, but doesn't totally
pander to it. Rather than just sounding like a heavier Red Hot Chili
Peppers, Sevendust manage a sleek negotiation of styles that brings to mind
bands as far apart on the hard-rock-o-meter as Metallica, Nine Inch Nails
and Iron Maiden (!).
There's plenty of muscle on Home, but also a heavy serving of
angst, making Sevendust's latest effort a perfect gift for that slightly
depressed member of the high school football team. Listen, for instance,
to how deftly singer Lajon Witherspoon, the band's secret weapon, blends
Bruce Dickinsonesque melody and a James Hetfieldian sneer on "Denial"
excerpt), followed by the band's angular, staccato metallic
breaks, bringing to mind the work of recent hard-rock chart-toppers
Godsmack. Sevendust also work out the crucial metal/ hip-hop connection
on the heavily syncopated chest-thumper "Waffle" (RealAudio
excerpt), which struts around like a macho linebacker looking
for a hot date; they showcase their more sensitive side (something many
of their stylistic brethren lack) on "Licking Cream" (RealAudio
excerpt), on which Witherspoon sensitively croons "I wish you
weren't so beautiful" amidst soaring and spiraling backing vocals during
the song's chorus. Sports-metal types have feelings too, ya know!
Overall, if you're a fan of hard rock with a heavy dollop of hip-hop,
you could do far worse than to check out Home.