On Chapter VII: Hope and Sorrow, Sevendust open their doors to such guests as Alter Bridge's Myles Kennedy and American Idol's Chris Daughtry, a move that stretches the album's sound past the usual limits of alternative metal. Daughtry may be a popular figure in the hard rock world, but he's also synonymous with the glitzy TV show that helped launch his career, and his presence here points to Sevendust's desire to tap into that same market. If 2007's Alpha prized riffs over melody, then Chapter VII is the reversal of that arrangement, with songs like "Sorrow" and "The Past" featuring the sort of tough-guy-ballad approach that often yields heavy rotation on modern rock radio. Daughtry lends his vocals to the latter song, although his moment in the spotlight is limited -- perhaps because his voice outshines Sevendust's Lajon Witherspoon, or because the band doesn't want "The Past" to sound too much like a Daughtry track. "Hope," on the other hand, pitches itself closer to the Linkin Park camp with its melancholic piano intro and rainy day atmospherics, even if the chorus packs more throat-shredding power than anything Chester Bennington has mustered on a Linkin Park release. Pounding percussion, swaggering guitars, and downtrodden lyrics are still Sevendust's bread and butter -- especially throughout the album's second half -- and even "Hope" finds time to showcase some dazzling, fiery guitar heroics by the visiting Mark Tremonti. So while Sevendust's audience won't be thoroughly confused with this release, they'll occasionally be jolted by the changes that Chapter VII presents: pop idol cameos, heavy-handed semi-ballads, and some cautious steps outside of the alt-metal genre.
AllMusic Review by Andrew Leahey