The faithful know the story, but here's the short version. In late 2004 Clint Lowery left Sevendust to join the unimpressive post-grunge outfit Dark New Day, and was promptly replaced with ex-Snot guitarist Sonny Mayo. Then Sevendust departed longtime label TVT in favor of a Universal-distributed indie startup called Winedark. The net result of these changes? Not much. On Next Sevendust still alternates heavy, jaggedly rocking alt-metal with turns toward introspection or balladry. "Hero" opens the album with a stuttering guitar riff and Lajon Witherspoon rasping, "Stop, drop, roll, get up, take a crack at me/Like every other motherf*cker that I've seen today," through clenched teeth. Is his anger aimed at Lowery? Unclear, but it's a powerful song nonetheless. "Silence" and "Desertion" back that aggression up, "This Life" is Witherspoon's synth-supported tribute to his newborn child, and "Never" employs some processed instrumentation for an industrial metal feel. Sevendust play with feeling, and Witherspoon has more range than most of his loud rock contemporaries. But Next rarely progresses past simply capable. Sevendust take the safe route, revisiting the rage and reflection of their past work instead of pressing hard on the new wounds inherent in "Hero" to make the music and volume really bleed. Next? Maybe next time.
AllMusic Review by Johnny Loftus