Sometimes just plain Metal music will not do. There have been various offshoots of the Heavy Metal main genre, such as Nu Metal and Metalcore. Sevendust does inhabit a Metal world of their own in this respect. This is the group’s debut album and got some attention for an alternative music style out there. Also, they had an African-American vocalist, LajonWitherspoon, which is highly unusual for a Metal band. How does it all sound? Let’s find out.

Black begins the album with some kill-switch style guitars, and hi-hats and launches into a decent and groovy Metal piece of music. Instantly, this is mosh pit stuff. Lajon Witherspoon’s vocals are clear and plain, alternating from singing to screaming. Sadly, the production and mixing aren’t the best, although the song itself is really great. A great tune nonetheless, this is the beginning of a promising career for this group. In any case, this is good but a proper producer may have helped in retrospect. The music’s impact is undeniable, however. This is very excellent and supercharged, and the tune itself is quite good. With throaty and roaring vocals, along with a psychotic sounding band, the music present is quite awesome in its own way. A wah-wah guitar solo is here, which adds some differentiation to the mix. A great listen, this sounds powerful and dramatic, despite the plastic sounding mix. Nice tune all the same. It fades out well.

Bitch begins with some clean guitar strumming and nice vocals at hand, sounding very original and different. It launches into a Thrashy and good tune that is designed as a punch in the face. The Metal here is quite good, and there is a call-and-response section here vocally. A powerful and unique piece of music, this is a literal punch-in-the-face musically. In the middle are clean guitar parts and clacked drumsticks. This song is good but would be better live or remixed properly. Anyway, it is a very nice effort for what it is. The mixing sounds pretty terrible, and although this is good musically, the production lets this down. A good song nonetheless, but this is very different to other music out there. Good but not great. Very thrashy for a three-and-a-half-minute song.

Terminator begins with some intricate tom-tom drumming and nice sounds for those who like dark and heavy music. Some heavy bass work enters, and this song gets going. This is a bit dirge-like, and again, the mixing could have been much better. A good song referencing the infamous Terminator movie series, this sounds really on fire for what it is in some ways. A loud and powerful musical statement, this sounds extraordinarily interesting and different. Kind of catchy in a weird way, this music sounds incredibly powerful, even with its flaws. A real punch in the face with everything cranked to 11, there is some manic screaming here. An excellent listening experience that sounds punchy, this is good for what it is. Sure, it’s not perfect, but this sort of music needn’t be. There is an intricate breakdown in the second half, sounding really dark and deep. Weird and warped, the music is interesting, to say the least. A little long, but that’s okay. It sounds very dramatic. A good ending is here, however.

Too Close To Hate begins with some ordinary sounds and effects, which rise dramatically throughout the mix. This is very lo-fi sounding, and to be honest, the appeal of the album has worn off a little bit by this time. The mix is shocking, and it doesn’t help the music at all. The production could have trimmed these tracks up a bit more as well. No doubt that the effort by the band is here, it is just a real disappointment to hear. The music on this album, sadly, is hit-and-miss, nothing incredibly special as a result of the right band, and wrong situation. The singing here is quite good, but the music isn’t overly special. Nonetheless, good for an occasional listen, but nothing great otherwise. Hearing this after some time is a bit of a drag, and this album needs a rethink. Good, but by no means great. A bit long length-wise as well, this isn’t really that dramatically awesome. A really good band let down here by their own decisions. It’s still good in some sense, however.

Wired begins with the internal noise from an aircraft, before launching into a piece of very ordinary music. This is quite awful actually, lacking any decency or consistency. It still is a punch in the face, but just sounds completely terrible. This is proof that this isn’t the best of Sevendust here, and it is a real drag to listen to. Anyway, you can skip this tune or go press stop by this point, the whole thing sounds quite horrible. A very terrible tune, there is nothing remotely special here. The guitar solo is also terrible, and it copies the Kirk Hammett of Metallica wah-wah approach too closely. Anyway, this is a very trashy tune that needs to be forgotten in the dustbin of musical history. A completely lacking song, avoid it at all costs. It ends with an explosion sound. Rather terrible.

Prayer begins with unusual guitar sounds and smooth singing. Goodness knows why a Metal band would name a song prayer, as most Metal bands aren’t Christian at all. A case of sound effects rather than musicianship from a bunch of Metalheads, this again, isn’t the absolute best. Good if you are anti-religious, but to most listeners will dislike this music. It is largely ineffective to hear and is just a real failure for a song. The production and mixing element rear its ugly head here, and there was quite clearly a case of “stuff it, it’ll do” here. An absolutely horrible guitar solo is present in this song, and this tune is very ordinary. A piece of music that could have been bettered, this does not have a lasting impact to hear. Rather depressing to listen to as well, sadly. Better luck next time boys.

Face begins with some awful static sounds and some looped electronic beats, which is weird. Soon enough, quite a good drumbeat enters and a better tune enters here. This is a definite improvement on what came before it, and this definitely has a better listening experience. Inviting the listener onto an LSD trip, the song is obviously drug influenced. A good effort, but not inspiring or overly worth repeat listens, the music could definitely be improved here. It sounds like a meddled up affair, and lacks substance. Sadly, this will not be remembered much, apart from being very awful. If you shake your head at this awful song, nobody can blame you for that. A sub five minute long drag, the riff section in the guitar solo, with its stop/start nature is okay, but otherwise, a really ordinary song. Goodness knows where quality control went here, this isn’t impressive. Not the greatest nor most accessible album from the group, this showed the group needed a rethink of strategy.

Speak begins with some better riffs, but still sounds fairly ordinary. There is an interesting musical section, right before the singing, which is very ethereal, surprisingly. This is quite good for this record, it adds spice and variety to this otherwise very black-and-white music. The chorus is very catchy and is proof that the music present does have its moments. This is a better side of Sevendust and the crisp guitar sounds and musicality should have been explored more on this album. In any case, the singing exudes pain and suffering, which is different. Not many vocalists can do such an effort as Lajon Witherspoon can. A loud, punchy and better tune, even if it is still quite flawed. Good, although probably not great for the record.

Will It Bleed comes next, with some palm-muted riffs and electronic sounds, followed by some punchy drumming and sounds galore that are very Heavy Metal. This again is a somewhat improved musical listen, and there is some substance to this tune. It sounds like a more consistent and better musical listen here, and the music is about self-destruction and suicide. Which isn’t easy listening. A powerful and different tune, this has its purpose and sounds quite good, actually for this music. “I’d rather kill myself than put you through the pain again,” is screamed here repeatedly, not the best lyrics for those who think about doing that. Nonetheless, this is the darker side of music and it is to be treated as such. A very dark and intense musical listen, this does sound okay, although not 100% so. The riffs here are good for heavy music. There is a false ending, followed by watery guitar sounds to conclude. This is a bad outro, and the song doesn’t need this instrumental section really. Ordinary.

My Ruin begins with dark keyboard sounds, before launching into a song that is outright bad. It’s enough to make one hit the stop button here already, and this is five plus minutes of listening time wasted. Sevendust have had a long way to go to improve things here, and the music on this song is extremely dark and is more of a statement of style rather than substance. A disappointment, but nothing new here from this album. A really disturbing and dark listen, the music here is quite dramatic nonetheless, even if it isn’t good. An improvement on other songs on this album, but nothing special here again. A real musical drag nonetheless. This sounds vicious and brutal. The guitar solo is terrible, just more wah-wah naff nonsense. The song does have a neat groove, however. Interesting music for what this is. The sounds in a breakdown in the second half sound awful, just before the band kicks right back in. This is not the best of Sevendust, but only Metalheads alone can really hear this and appreciate it. Good tune to hear in some aspects. It sounds very, very ordinary, however.

Born To Die has an instant intro and screamed Fear Factory style vocals. This isn’t appealing, more like appalling. A really disastrous and extreme tune and this has very little impact on the average listener. Just because this is super heavy with screamed vocals, doesn’t mean it is any good. You’ll be glad to see the back end of this album, Sevendust needed to lift their game here, and they probably knew it. Some of the musicality is kind of okay, but the album itself is a real letdown. Sonically awful, the guitar solo and full on screaming mixed together are a disaster musically. This is only really suitable if you love super heavy sounds. It goes into a thrashy second half that sounds really terrible, before eventually entering into an instrumental section to conclude. The drumming is quite impressive, and the false ending and reversed sounds aren’t really necessary.

Breathe (Bonus) begins with some weird electronic sounds, launching into another terrible song. At least this is somewhat shorter, to save your ears and time. It’s a subtle improvement on the music from before, but not overly so. It has watery sounding vocals and just is a dirge sounding tune throughout. This is not at all near a classic album, and this bonus track is proof of that. A depressing and disappointing listening experience, this sounds very pathetic musically. A really trashy piece of music, this album seriously needs a good rethink. This tune is barely okay, nothing special here. Turn this off and do something else, your brain will thank you for it.

School’s Out (Bonus) is another tune that sounds okay (it’s an Alice Cooper cover) but would have been better off with some proper production. It sounds a lot better and more musical here, rather than just being Heavy Metal for the sake of it. It is still headache inducing to listen to, which isn’t the best. Anyway, it is a song about not being at school, and it seems that Sevendust needed to go learn some good musical theory for the sake of music. It’s pretty pathetic, to be honest. The extra songs here aren’t great either. A nice try, but falls flat, again. Depressing and disappointing, a bad mixture of sounds and playing. Anyway, it’s over after a waste of three minutes long. The outro is terrible.

Bitch [Live] (Bonus) isn’t a good idea to add, considering we have already heard the original here. It is a good live piece, which is different. Soon enough, this launches into psychotic Thrash Metal mode and this song sounds incredibly loud and quite good as a result. Anyway, good to hear that these guys sounded better live than in the studio, it sounds really dark and disturbing. An improvement, perhaps a live album would have been a much better idea as a result. A really deep and disturbing tune that actually has some merit in this scenario, it is a pleasant change for once. The vocals in particular are mint, and this is very good proof of the band as a live unit. Anyway, it’s good to hear. Different for a change.

Prayer [Live] (Bonus) is another improved listen for a live song. This proves that Sevendust had a much better feel for live music as a band, rather than the lame album recordings. It seems quite clear that they thrive in this environment, rather than the ordinary album listen. A good piece of music that you can actually enjoy here, it sounds powerful and wild. Really wonderful and decent, the music on this live song gives the original piece a facelift. Nonetheless, it’s actually okay. A dramatic and powerful listen throughout, this has some excellence musically. Anyway, it’s still not perfect, but it is okay. The breakdown sounds interesting and decent, and the music here is very nicely structured. It finishes with some crowd cheering, which is good.

Terminator [Breathe Remix] (Bonus) is the last tune here, and it is awful from the start. Fortunately, this is worth avoiding. The remix itself is interesting, but it doesn’t sound great. It sounds like a pathetic attempt at a Rap tune with Metal guitars. Again, don’t bother with this, just plain avoid this song. A sadly depressing and pathetic piece of music, this makes no sense at all to hear. You’d be better off watching one of the Terminator movie series films for two hours than hearing this one-hour-long album. Anyway, a drag. The remix does not do justice. Really ordinary, just avoid this tune. Pathetic and uninspired remix, this falls apart at the seams. A sad and disgusting joke for music, just don’t hear this, and you’ll be okay. Avoid it, and you’ll save your ears. Four plus minutes of nonsense.

This album is quite frankly, not very good to hear at all. There are a few moments here and there of brilliance, but this music is very ordinary, mainly due to production errors and poor mixing. A pathetic drag and downright awful to hear, for the most part, Sevendust no doubt needed to reflect on their music and apparently made better records than this. This isn’t rewarding or refreshing. A joke for a Metal album.

Depressingly bad.