Sevendust

Alpha

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AllMusic Review by

Alpha is Sevendust's sixth album in a decade, and although the band has been through a few lineup changes and several switches in labels over those ten years, musically not much has changed. They remain an aggressive new-metal band, occasionally flirting with anthemic melody and boasting slight hip-hop and funk flourishes on their rhythms, but they remain one devoted to precise, pummeling riffs that fuel endless tales of torment and angst. That much was as true on 1997's Sevendust as it is on Alpha, the main difference between the two being an increased instrumental acumen on the latter, which happens to go hand in hand with a craftsmanlike song construction that relies on shifts of mood instead of hooks. This makes Alpha less immediate and memorable than Sevendust's earlier work, which may not matter to listeners who just want to hear the band stretch out and play, as they do on the epic nine-minute "Burn," which cycles through atypical moody acoustic moments to furious blasts of guitars and then fades back down again. Such control is admirable, but the song itself doesn't stick in memory, but that's also true of such bracing assaults as the visceral opener, "Deathstar," which has plenty of force but doesn't leave much of an impression. And that's true of Alpha as a whole: it's the work of a veteran alt-metal band that hasn't expanded their range but instead focused on their primal strengths to the extent that they've lost their capability to surprise either themselves or their audience.

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