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Sunday Old School: Sevendust

As you may have noticed by recent Sunday Old School columns focusing on the likes of Coal Chamber and Spineshank, nu metal, or rather bands lumped into that category, are now being covered in this feature. It was a strange time, as following grunge's almost complete removal of metal from mainstream popularity, save for the likes of Pantera, Sepultura and Fear Factory, it was another brand of metal that removed it. The problem was, many metal fans hated what they saw as the bastardising of their genre. There were however, several bands which earned respect for their clear talent and songwriting abilities, including today's featured group, Sevendust.

Sevendust were formed in Atlanta, Georgia in 1994 by bassist Vince Hornsby and drummer Morgan Rose, who christened their new project, Snake Nation prior to being joined by guitarist John Connolly. After recording a demo, which they felt was let down by a poor vocal performance, they began a search for a new singer, one which would lead them to Lajon Witherspoon, with the lineup being completed six months later when Clint Lowery joined as a second guitarist, at which point the band renamed themselves, Rumblefish, before changing it to Crawlspace and then finally settling on the moniker Sevendust after a band named Crawlspac sent them a letter demanding $2,500.

Eventually, the band were signed to TVT Records, under whom they released their self-titled debut in 1997, which was partly produced by Twisted Sister guitarist Jay Jay French. The album was relatively successful, peaking at number 165 on the Billboard album charts, as well as reaching number 5 on the Heatseekers chart and featuring some of the band's best known songs such as "Bitch" and "Black," the latter of which would be the opening number at every Sevendust concert for the next seven years. The popularity of the album allowed them to tour extensively, appearing at festivals in Europe, as well as the 1998 edition of Ozzfest.

Following on from this success, Sevendust returned to the studio to work on their sophomore full length, "Home," which featured guest appearances from the likes of Chino Moreno of Deftones and Skunk Anansie singer, Skin. "Home" fared even better than it's predecessor, reaching as high as number 19 on the Billboard charts and led to more opportunities, such as appearing on the David Letterman show and touring with the likes of Machine Head and Metallica, the latter of whom they joined at the Pontiac Silverdome along with Slipknot and Ted Nugent at a New Year's Eve concert in 1999, before teaming up with Slipknot again for the Tattoo the Earth tour in 2000, where they also teamed up with the likes of Slayer, Sick of it All and Stone Temple Pilots amongst others.

In November 2001, the band released their third studio album, "Animosity," which surpassed the commercial success of the previous two albums, attaining Gold status and also entered the Australian and New Zealand album charts. The record also spawned two top twenty singles in the form of "Praise" and "Angel's Son," which was a tribute to Snot frontman Lynn Strait, who had passed away in 1998 after a car accident. They gained even further exposure by appearing on the World Wrestling Federation's "Forceable Entry" album, where they performed a rendition of Chris Jericho's entrance song, "Break the Walls Down," on an album which also featured contributions from contemporaries such as Disturbed, Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie, as well as appearing in the Chris Rock movie, "Down to Earth" that same year.

The band decided to take a break after Witherspoon's younger brother was tragically shot and killed in 2002, though they returned with a new album, "Seasons" the next year, which featured the single "Enemy," one of their highest charting singles. The song furthered their relationship with professional wrestling as the late wrestler Chyna appeared in the video (fighting a man with no arms,) as well as being used for the Unforgiven pay per view that September, by which time the WWF had changed their name to World Wrestling Entertainment.

"Seasons" was followed a year later by their first live release, "Southside Double-Wide: Acoustic Live," which contained a cover of the Nine Inch Nails song, "Hurt," which was dedicated to country legend, Johnny Cash, who passed away the previous year. This was to be their last release with Clint Lowery for some time, as he announced in December 2004 that he was leaving the group to perform with his brother Corey in Dark New Day. He was replaced by former Snot and Amen guitarist, Sonny Mayo, whose first album with Sevendust, "Next" was released in 2005 through WineDark Records, who the band soon severed ties with due to a lack of promotion and royalties not being paid, shortly before the label collapsed.

With no label or money coming in, the band found themselves with a debt of almost one million dollars and numerous problems as a result of their financial situation, the band signed with Asylum and released their sixth album, "Alpha" in 2007. The album became their highest charting in the United States, peaking at number 14 and contained the single, "Driven," which to date is tied with "Enemy" for their highest charting single and also appeared on the video game WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2008. Before the year was out, Sevendust were already back in the studio recording another album, "Chapter VII: Hope & Sorrow," which was released in April 2008 and was able to crack the top twenty, as did the album's lead single, "Prodigal Son."

Merely days before "Chapter VII's" release, Sevendust announced that Clint Lowery had returned to the fold after quitting Dark New Day and thusly, Sonny Mayo had been let go. They hit the road to support the record, touring with the likes of Black Stone Cherry and performing in Iraq and Afghanistan for the American armed forces before returning to the studio to work on their first album with Lowery since 2003. The result was "Cold Day Memory," which debuted at number 12 on the Billboard album charts and spawned the singles, "Unraveling," "Forever" and "Last Breath." They promoted the album by appearing on several package tours, including the first Carnival of Madness tour with the likes of Puddle of Mudd and Shinedown, before heading to Australia to perform with Iron Maiden and Primus as part of the Soundwave Festival.

Sevendust would enter the studio once again in September 2012 to record their next effort, "Black Out the Sun," which was released through their own label, 7bros Records in March 2013. The album became one of, if not their most critically acclaimed album to date, with rock journalists pointing the marriage of their recently developed songwriting skills to the aggression of their first three records as a perfect coupling. The group wasted no time in providing a successor to the album and recorded another acoustic offering, "Time Travelers & Bonfires," which was released in April 2014 to some very positive reviews.

Guitars were soon plugged back in for their next album, "Kill the Flaw," which was released in October 2015 and included the Grammy nominated single, "Thank You." It was promoted by touring with the likes of Godsmack, for whom they were the direct support, as well as a headlining trek where they were joined by Trivium and Like a Storm. With critical praise coming thick and fast and recognition from fans of all ages, the future still looks good for Sevendust, who could well be releasing another acoustic album in the near future, as Lowery stated this was something which they would like to make a regular effort. Wherever Sevendust end up, it's sure to continue to delight fans and see them storm stages the world over.

Sevendust - "Black"

Sevendust - "Licking Cream"

Sevendust - "Praise"

Sevendust - "Enemy"

Sevendust - "Ugly"

Sevendust - "Driven"

Sevendust - "Prodigal Son"

Sevendust - "Decay"

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.

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6 Comments on "Sunday Old School: Sevendust"

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Anonymous Reader
1. Johansbutt writes:

Meh, I always like sevendust mor

# Sep 4, 2016 @ 12:38 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
Anonymous Reader
2. aaa writes:

Sevendust has always been my favorite band, first time i heard from them led me to explore more from the band and i decided to buy Seasons which was totally awesome

# Sep 4, 2016 @ 1:27 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
BrianSD's avatar

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3. BrianSD writes:

Always loved Sevendust. Alpha is an underrated album as well as Cold Day Memory. Kill the Flaw is great too, start at Silly Beast and go from there. I was at Tattoo the Earth, killer show. Slayer, 7dust, Sepultura, nothing face, and hatebreed (touring their debut album). Just saw them on tour w/ Trivium, Westfield Massacre and Like a Storm, great bill.

# Sep 4, 2016 @ 11:58 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
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4. Brandon LaFleur writes:

Best band. Hands down

# Sep 5, 2016 @ 5:36 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
psythe's avatar

Writer, Reviewer

5. psythe writes:

Man I loved Animosity, but felt Seasons was just Animosity Part 2, and the album after that didn't do much for me so I kinda dropped them off my radar after that. Maybe I should look back into their recent stuff, give em another shot.

Good write up Oz.

# Sep 6, 2016 @ 9:48 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address
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6. Blindgreed1 writes:

I shared the stage with them in Phoenix back in the early 2000's for their Animosity tour. They're a great bunch of guys and a hard working crew.

# Sep 7, 2016 @ 2:18 PM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

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