Late last month, veteran hard rock band Sevendust released its latest album, Truth Killer to the masses. The band’s 14th (yes, 14th) overall album, it is the group’s first released by the band through Napalm Records, the band having released its past two albums – All I See Is War (2018) and Blood & Stone (2020) – through Rise Records. The band is on the road alongside its Napalm Records label mate Alter Bridge and Mammoth WVH in support of Truth Killer, with the latest stop on the tour scheduled to take place tonight in Cleveland, OH. Truth Killer is an impressive new offering from the band that impresses in part through its musical arrangements, which will be discussed shortly. The lyrical themes that accompany the album’s musical arrangements make for their own share of engagement and entertainment and will be examined a little later. The record’s production puts the finishing touch to its presentation and will also be examined later. Each item noted here plays its own important role in the bigger picture of Truth Killer. All things considered they make the album unquestionably Sevendust’s best work to date.
Truth Killer, the latest full-length studio offering from Sevendust, is a presentation that will find plenty of appeal among so many of the veteran rock band’s audiences. That includes the band’s established audience base and its newer fans alike. Part of what makes for such appeal is the album’s musical content. The arrangements featured throughout the album are collectively, an exhibition of the band’s past, present and hopefully future, right from the record’s outset, ‘I Might Let The Devil Win.’ Guitarist Clint Lowery said during an interview with Apple Music, the song was originally intended for one of his own solo albums, but ended up on this record instead, and it was a good thing it did, too. That is because of how different it is from so much of what Sevendust has presented in any of its albums. That is shown through the contrast of the contemplative mood that makes up most of the song and the more charged emotion that appears in the song’s second half. The contemplative nature of this arrangement is not to be mistaken for the overly brooding nature of songs from the band’s 2010 album, Cold Day Memory and its predecessor, Chapter VII: Hope & Sorrow (2008). Rather, the contemplation here presents at least some lightness thanks to the electronics used here. It is not that typical ‘oh woe is me’ emo type moodiness, but rather just something else that must be heard to be fully appreciated. As Lowery noted in his interview with Apple Music, it is a musical approach and sound that is unlike anything Sevendust has collectively composed past and present, and as also so fully engaging.
On another note, a song, such as ‘No Revolution’ shows its own growth from the band while also showing a somewhat new approach and sound. The heavy crunching of the guitars alongside front man Lajon Witherspoon’s vocals will come across with a certain familiarity for the band’s established audiences. At the same time, the use of the electronics once again adds a touch that helps give the arrangement its own identity. What’s more, the heaviness in the overall instrumentation seems to take the arrangement in an almost industrial direction. That overall approach and sound is something more that the band has experimented with slightly in the past but never to this extent. The result is a work that is just as engaging and entertaining as the album’s opener, showing further why the album’s musical arrangements are so important to its presentation.
Audiences who want something a little more familiar from Sevendust will get that in this record’s arrangements, too more than once. Case in point are two of the album’s singles, ‘Fence’ – which serves as the album’s finale – and ‘Superficial Drug.’ ‘Fence’ easily throws back to the likes of the band’s hit single, ‘Waffle,’ which is featured as part of Sevendust’s 1999 album, Home. That is made clear through front man Lajon Witherspoon’s distinct percussive vocal delivery style along the equally staccato nature of the instrumentation. At the same time, the up-tempo guitar line in the song’s opening bars also gives listeners a touch of something more “modern” from the band, giving audiences something old and new in on setting. ‘Superficial Drug’ meanwhile offers listeners plenty of contemplative melodic hard rock that the band has used in many of its biggest singles. At the same time it still does manage to present its own identity, further showing again, why the album’s musical content is an important part of Truth Killer’s presentation. When this arrangement and the others examined here are considered along with the rest of the album’s arrangements, it becomes clear that Truth Killer’s overall musical content is unquestionably key in its own right to the album’s presentation.
While the musical arrangements featured throughout Truth Killer play an undeniably important role in the album’s overall presentation, they are just part of what makes the album successful. The lyrical themes that accompany that musical content are important, too and even more diverse. ‘Sick Mouth’ for instance, takes on a very heavy topic, that of someone who has dealt with a very bad person who has a very troubled mind, according to Lowery. Lowery said of the song in his interview with Apple Music, the song focused on the attempts by a friend of his parents to do some very bad things to him until he told his parents. He said of the song, “It’s about taking the power away from the predator and giving it back to the victim – myself or anyone that’s gone through that. It’s the empowerment of note letting that control my lie or my behaviors anymore.” Such a topic is not easy for any victim of such matter to discuss, so for Lowery to bring this topic to light here is brave and as he said, empowering for any victim. Few if any acts across the musical universe have taken on this matter, Aerosmith being the first that comes to mind, what with its timeless single, ‘Janie’s Got A Gun.’ To that end, it makes this topic a key example of the importance of the album’s lyrical themes.
Speaking of letting go of the past, the album addresses that matter more directly and more in general in the form of ‘Leave Hell Behind.’ Lowery said of this song’s theme during his interview with Apple Music, it is a declaration for people to live for the present, not the past. “You can’t live on your glory days, and you can’t demonize yourself for your darker days,” Lowery said. “You have to just move on, become the person that you are today and be the best person you can. You have to take those experiences and push them back, and just evolve.” This is a more familiar theme not only from Sevendust but from music acts in general. It is a theme that is always welcome and needed because people do tend to reach those points at which they forget this important motivation. To that end, it is just as welcome here as in any of Sevendust’s (and any acts’) albums.
Moving even deeper into the album, ‘Messenger’ is yet another prime example of the importance of the album’s lyrical theme. As per Lowery’s comments during his interview with Apple Music, the song centers on humans’ innate self-centered nature. “I wrote this song with [Sevendust guitarist] John [Connolly] and [Sevendust drummer] Morgan [Rose], but they were the predominant songwriters,” Lowery said. “We were just talking about how arrogant we all can get in our own lives and that we don’t want to listen to anybody, and we don’t want to collaborate with people. Instead, it’s ‘I want to do the things I want to do and I don’t really even care about what you do.’ It’s a self-centered kind of existence that some of us have and the song touches on some of that.” Lowery’s commentary is interesting especially considering that this is an existence that not just some people have, but everybody. What separates people from one another is whether we allow that nature to control us. We all have it in us, not some of us. Only some of us let it control us, sadly. Again this is not a unique theme, but is presented here in an original way that certainly translates well for audiences. To that end it is even more proof of the importance of the album’s lyrical themes. When this theme and the others examined here are considered along with the rest of the album’s lyrical themes, the whole therein make just as clear why the lyrical content featured in Truth Killer are just as important as the album’s musical arrangements. When that overall content is considered collectively, the whole makes for so much engagement and entertainment throughout the album.
The engagement and entertainment ensure through the album’s musical arrangements and lyrical themes form a solid foundation for Truth Killer. There is no doubt about that at this rate. That foundation is strengthened even more through the record’s production. Thanks to the work of producer Michael “Elvis” Baskette (who also worked on Alter Bridge’s latest album, 2022’s Pawns & Kings as well as with Lowery and Sevendust on their past records, and even on Mammoth WVH’s latest album among so many other acts’ albums), the production immerses audiences even more in the record. As audiences familiar with Alter Bridge will note, that band’s latest album features some of its heaviest work to date. To that end one cannot help but imagine Baskette took that approach and applied it here in Sevendust’s latest album, too. The stylistic approach between the two label mate acts’ new albums is undeniable. What is so notable in that approach is the balance of the instrumentation and vocals in each arrangement. That includes the use of the electronics at points. Baskette ensures each portion of each arrangement gets just enough attention and that each compliments the other throughout the record. That would explain why it sounds and feels like there is so much depth to this record, musically speaking. The result is such a positive aesthetic that, when considered with the impact of the arrangements themselves and with the diverse lyrical themes, completes the album’s presentation. All things considered, the album’s production works with its overall content to make it not only some of the band’s best works to date, but also one of the best of this year’s new hard rock and metal albums.
Truth Killer, the 14th album from Sevendust is some of the band’s best work to date if not its best to date. That is due in no small part to its featured musical arrangements. As noted, the arrangements offer audiences hints of the band’s past and present and hopefully a long future, even though this is the album’s 14th album. It blends those leanings of past, present and future so well in each song, ensuring they give listeners the best of all worlds from one song to the next. The lyrical themes featured alongside the album’s musical arrangements add to the album’s appeal thanks to their diversity and accessibility. They touch on topics both familiar and otherwise. The record’s production gives each arrangement such a rich presentation, immersing listeners even more into the album. Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of Truth Killer’s presentation. All things considered they make Truth Killer a record that every Sevendust fan will enjoy and that is without doubt among the best of this year’s new hard rock and metal albums.
Truth Killer is available now through Napalm Records. More information on the album is available along with all of Sevendust’s latest news at: