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The nu-metal kings return with their highly-anticipated and acclaimed new album Animosity. The album shows the band retaining their trademark heaviness and intense rhythm while incorporating even more melody and harmony into the songs. The result is unquestionably Sevendust's strongest and most accessible work to date. Sevendust had something completely different in mind for its third album--an idea that began with "Angel's Son," their biggest radio hit yet and a moving tribute to the late Snot singer, Lynn Strait. "We realized that we didn't have to try to be the heaviest band in the world," explains Morgan Rose (drums/vocals). "Our initial goal as a band had been to be a brutally heavy band musically that also featured the unbelievable vocals of Lajon Witherspoon on top of that, but somewhere along the line, we separated ourselves from letting him showcase his voice. When we did 'Angel's Son' and people reacted the way they did, we realized that we could do exactly what we had originally wanted to do." "I set out to sing," says Witherspoon simply about his goals for Animosity. "I set out to sing my ass off, sing my heart out, and write songs, write real songs, and put our hearts into it." Relocating to their new management's home of Orlando in mid-February of 2001 to write, the band enjoyed the luxury of having far more time than ever before to create the record they wanted: "For the first time in our career, I felt like we actually had time to get back to a normal life, then we started writing the new music," continues Witherspoon. "We had enough time to write the music, live with the music, and know the music so well that when we went in the studio, we were all so impressed with each other. We were just very proud and excited." The band enlisted producer Ben Grosse (Fuel, Filter) and settled into Orlando's Transcontinental Studios to capture what Lowery calls the "contrast of heavy and light music together." First listen to the seething, coiled power of "Praise" or "T.O.A. B." for the heaviness and aggression that Sevendust is rightfully known for. Then flip to "Crucified" or "Trust" for an extraordinary combination of that aggression countered by beautiful melodies and passionate vocals, propelled even further by the tight, sinuously soulful rhythms that have also become a trademark of this versatile band. Exhibiting a new and more mature side of Sevendust, are "Angel's Son" and "Xmas Day," songs that showcase the band's depth with heart shattering, poignant expressions of sadness that reach an emotional level rarely heard these days in the heavy rock field. "It's basically about a friend who's lost their way and fallen to pieces, saying that they've given up hope," says writer Clint Lowery (guitars/vocals) of the latter tune. "And having to find a way, as much as it hurts, to say goodbye." Then there's "Follow." While Sevendust kept this album close and personal, there was room for one guest appearance--from good friend Aaron Lewis, lead singer of Staind. "Aaron and Jon Wysocki (Staind's drummer) flew in and were playing golf with Morgan," recalls Witherspoon. "So we just said, 'Hey, would you like to come down to the studio and do a song?' So Aaron came down, we let him listen to a couple of tracks, he heard 'Follow,' and I said, 'I think this would be a great song for you to sing on.' He did the second verse and some harmonies on it, and it turned out great!" The triumph of Animosity leaves the band brimming with confidence. With this album Sevendust redefines both themselves and their brand of hard rock, taking their anger and turning it into something that is at once heavy and beautiful. "We really hope that people out there understand where we're coming from on this record, and we're eager to see what they're gonna do," says Lowery. "It really means a lot to us what the fans think about this stuff. We wouldn't be doing it if it was any other way."
Sevendust: Lajon Witherspoon (vocals); Clint Lowery (guitar, background vocals); John Connolly (guitar); Vince Hornsby (bass); Morgan Rose (drums, background vocals).
Additional personnel: Luis Resto (keyboards); Justin Walden, Blumpy (keyboards, programming); Ben Grosse (programming); Aaron Lewis (background vocals).
Engineers include: Ben Grosse, Adam Barber, Blumpy.
Recorded at Tree Sound, Atlanta, Georgia; Trans Continental, Orlando, Florida; Parc, The Mix Room, Burbank, California; Bearsville Studios, Bearsville, New York.
Personnel: Clint Lowery (vocals, guitar); Morgan Rose (vocals, drums); Aaron Lewis, Lajon Witherspoon (vocals); John Connolly (guitar); Luis Resto (strings, keyboards); Justin Z. Walden, Blumpy (keyboards, programming); Ben Grosse (programming).
Hitting their stride on their third release, Georgia natives Sevendust learned to channel their aggressive emotion in a more streamlined fashion. The result is their strongest material to date. "Praise" is a radio-friendly track that stands above the nu-metal pack. "Trust" and "Crucified," both brutal and melodic, are vehicles for vocalist Lajon Witherspoon's expanded range. Producer Ben Grosse (Fuel, Filter) brings out the maximum amount of impact from the powerful quintet. The somber "Xmas Day" and "Shine" are both standouts, and show that while the band has matured, they are still metal to the bone. You'll want to turn up the bass on the bottom-heavy crunchers "Damaged" and "Beautiful." After working out their kinks and becoming a tighter unit via massive touring, Sevendust seems ready to lead the heavy music brigade.
Alternative Press (12/01, p.73) - 8 out of 10 - "...[They] finally dispense with the Hanz and Franz posturing and play to their strengths....it's all underlain with a heightened tunefulness that sees the band embracing their accessibility..."