More than a decade and a half into their career, with dozens of rock radio hits and top 20 Billboard albums under their belts, the members of Sevendust finally feel like they've reached a place where they can make the kind of music that's truly, well, Sevendust.
And that appears to be the driving force behind their eighth studio album, "Cold Day Memory:" complete, hard-won artistic expression and freedom.
"The goal with this album was to reestablish ourselves as a band," said Clint Lowery, lead guitarist of the Atlanta, Ga.-based band. "The original lineup is back together, so we made this album using what we believe has always been our best assets: heavy, really heavy melodic music and sincere stuff. And that's what we do, naturally."
Though Lowery rejoined Sevendust two years ago, the new album, out last month, is the first Sevendust album he's written on since 2004's, "Seasons." Any Sevendust fan will tell you something was missing when Lowery stepped away, and Lowery couldn't be happier to be back writing fresh songs with his musical soulmates. The album features singer Lajon Witherspoon's soulful, R&B-influenced vocals amid dark, melodic guitars and brutal rhythms.
This time around, Lowery was heavily involved with recording.
"I wanted to have a part in all the songs," he said. "Since I haven't done a Sevendust record in three albums, I wanted to make up for lost time."
He says a good rock song has both edge and heart.
"If it's a heavier song, it needs to have a sincerity," he said. "You need to be talking about something that's real.
"It also needs a really good beat and a great guitar riff. It needs an edge to it; something that makes people want to cut loose."
Producer Johnny K (Disturbed, 3 Doors Down, Staind) worked with the band on the release. He helped perfect the album's hard-driving rock single, "Unraveling," No. 9 on the active rock charts at press time.
"It's a father and son theme," Lowery said of the song, which is Sevendust's most successful single to date. "It's about any relationship where you needed someone to be there and they let you down."
Sevendust is touring the U.S. right now, and the band's on the road a lot. But that's okay with Lowery. The guys take life on the road in stride.
"If you party a lot and drink, it's going to get hard, but if you can take care of yourself, it can be a lot of fun," he said. "It depends on how you handle yourself.
"People say it's hard, but it's only hard when you make it hard. It depends on where you're at as a person. For us, we enjoy playing, meeting our fans and seeing everybody. So, for us, it's good times."
By Anne Erickson, Gannett NOISE