Sevendust Cold Day Memory Album CD Review
By: A. Estes
It’s been almost seven years since Atlanta, Georgia’s Sevendust have recorded with original guitarist Clint Lowery in tow. In that time, Lowery played in Dark New Day with his brother Corey and filled in as a hired-gun for Korn, before reconnecting with the band just in time for the release of 2008’s, Chapter VII: Hope and Sorrow, which was recorded with his replacement, Sonny Mayo, in tow. Although Mayo helped keep the band pumping through nearly three album cycles worth of recording and touring, Lowery’s absence was noticeably felt, and longtime fans will breathe a sigh of relief at his return to the fold with the band’s eighth (!) album, Cold Day Memory.
Like any good Sevendust album, Cold Day Memory kicks off with a bang. “Splinter” opens the album with some killer leads by Lowery (oh how we missed you) and the patented three-part vocal harmonizing between the guitarist, singer Lajon Witherspoon and drummer Morgan Rose. From there, the band keeps the energy going through tracks like “Unraveling” and “Forever,” which, at their heart, are classic Sevendust and sound like they could have been lost tracks from 2001’s Animosity. “Karma” finds the band simultaneously crushing and caressing with a killer breakdown that seems designed to incite a moshpit giving way to the soulful melodies of Witherspoon, only serving to show that they’ve still got it after all of these years.
Unfortunately, the middle of the album doesn’t quite live up to what the beginning promises. For the recording of the album, the band brought in producer Johnny K to help them reel things in and find their edge, and while it works in creating some truly memorable songs, they lose focus mid-way through and seem to fall asleep at the wheel. Things pick up a bit again with “Nowhere” and especially “Better Place” –a very Clint-centric song that will appease old-school fans – before capping off with the intense “Strong Arm Broken,” but the middle is perhaps the band at their most middle-of-the-road, and that’s a bummer.
Maybe if they had shaved off a few songs in the middle that just don’t stick (“Ride Insane” in particular) “Cold Day Memory” would have been a tighter and more accomplished affair. Also, it wouldn’t have hurt to let Clint into the spotlight a bit more. Afterall, this is his long-awaited return to the band, but it feels maybe like there was some apprehension about stepping on each other’s feet. Something along the lines of “X-Mas Day” or “Angel’s Son” would have helped add to the dynamic of the album and is something most of us have been craving for years now. I guess if you’re looking for some Clint-tunes, his solo EP, Chills — released under the Hello Demons, Meet Skeletons moniker — will have to suffice for now.
Overall, though, Cold Day Memory marks another exciting chapter in the band’s history. Surely, there are more than a few songs here that will only help to intensify their live show and the album only goes to prove what we all knew all along: that Sevendust are at their best with its classic line-up intact. The CD comes with a bonus DVD that is worth picking up, as it features a documentary on the making of the album that goes beyond the usual fluff most bonus DVD’s consist of. Even though it’s not perfect, Cold Day Memory has enough to please any fan, and that’s enough to recommend it to anyone reading this. Go buy the album, go see them live (where they truly shine) and continue to support the hardest working band on the scene.