Sevendust is a divisive band within the metalsphere, one that so-called "trve" metalheads either love to hate or hate to love. Either they're dogged on relentlessly by those who think they're nothing more than run-of-the-mill radio rock, or they're enjoyed in private by those who don't want to risk being cast out as a poser by fellow metalheads. This writer, however, does not fall into either of these camps, as I absolutely love Sevendust and have no shame in proclaiming so. They are one of the catchiest, heaviest and most creative "popular" metal bands on the scene, not to mention one of the best live acts on the planet.
Now, I say all this with the caveat that Sevendust is at their best when Clint Lowery is involved; the three albums they released without him had a few good jams but were, for the most part, duds compared to the rest of the lot. When Lowery rejoined the band in 2009 and released Cold Day Memory the following year, it marked a revitalization and even a rebirth of sorts for the band, and they've been going strong ever since. 2013's Black Out the Sun saw a continuation of the reinvigorated Sevendust, and they've returned once again with Kill the Flaw, an album that's perhaps not as memorable as some their previous efforts, but still manages to showcase the band's best qualities.
Kill the Flaw kicks off with "Thank You," a track that is classic Sevendust through and through. Blistering hooks, driving grooves and an infectious chorus characterize this song that's sure to become a staple of the Dust's live show, and it's one hell of way to open the album. They keep this momentum going with "Death Dance," which features a stomping riff during the verse and, you guessed it, another catchy chorus. Lajon Witherspoon's voice is as expansive and powerful as it's ever been, and he's certainly showing no signs of being weathered by time, despite the fact that he's been at it for over 20 years.
Sevendust have always been great juxtaposing the harsh with the pretty, and Kill the Flaw displays this in spades. Each song has a heavy riff in one form or another that's laced with that signature melody Sevendust is known for, punctuated by Morgan Rose's crushing groove. It's not that they've done anything surprising or out of the ordinary with this album, but it does somehow feel different than some of their previous albums. Morgan Rose's drumming is more technical than it's ever been, and it's obvious they've drawn inspiration from some current trends in metal, specifically the djent movement, which it could be argued Sevendust played an integral role in pioneering. However, they are by no means trying to be a djent band; rather, they inject ideas that are prevalent in that genre into their already tried-and-true formula of hard rock. The most apparent example of this is the groovy, off-time "Not Today," which works to great success and is one of the strongest tracks of the bunch.
"Chop" is also a real highlight of the album, and perhaps the most "different" song of the bunch compared to what we're accustomed to hearing from Sevendust. It starts of with a funky bluegrass-esque lick that leads into a pounding riff that drives the song to it's huge chorus and stuttering bridge. It's basically a cross between "Angel's Son" and "Crucified" from arguably Sevendust's best album, Animosity. In fact, one could even say that Kill the Flaw is the essentially the spiritual successor to Animosity, as some of the melodies and riffs are very reminiscent of those which appeared on that album.
The only downside to Kill the Flaw is that some of the songs are rather forgettable. Granted, it's a better album overall than its predecessor, Black Out the Sun, but just falls short of the greatness of Cold Day Memory and some of their earlier albums. However, it's almost unfair to compare their newer output to their older material, because the fact is Sevendust simply aren't the same band. They've matured greatly as songwriters and have made huge strides as musicians, and the fact that they're still churning out some of the best metal-tinged hard rock money can buy after 20 years is a testament to their resilience and talent as a band. Kill the Flaw may not go down in history as being a particularly groundbreaking album, but it's another solid entry in the Dust's catalog that makes this writer still unashamed to love them.