TIME TRAVELERS & BONFIRES
Sevendust are really a band for the fans, and the fans are definitely always there for the band. Case in point - their latest release TIME TRAVELERS & BONFIRES. This release is one paid for by the latest trend hitting the music business, pre-funding by the fans to pay for a project. The band asked for a lot for this campaign, and got 245% funding from their fans in return. So what did Sevendust do with that money? Well, they created a very cool release that, while different from anything they've ever done studio-wise, is about as good as anything they've created to date. An acoustic release featuring fix new tracks and acoustic reworkings of some of their most popular material, TIME TRAVELERS & BONFIRES connects on every level with the established fanbase. For a band that gets so much from their fans, that's just what you would expect.
For those that don't remember, this is not Sevendust's first foray into the acoustic realm. Their often overlooked yet brilliant acoustic live release DOUBLE WIDE: ACOUSTIC LIVE is one of the most energetic live releases from any band trying to go "unplugged" ever. For fans of the band, that one has stood as a go to release for years. With TIME TRAVELERS & BONFIRES, the ban have seemingly decided to take a new approach to not only their classic material, but to presenting new songs they are working on. It works incredibly well. "The Wait" is one of the best songs these guys have put together since "Angel's Son"; a mid-tempo song that is reminiscent of some of the less heavy material from the last two releases and powered by vocalist Lajon Witherspoon's nearly perfect vocal combination of crooning and power singing. "Under It All" is another nearly perfect song from the band, with guitarists Clint Lowery and John Connolly driving the song with acoustic guitars that are still very much played in the unique rhythmic style the band always maintains. Reading that this is acoustic might give you a false thought that TIME TRAVELERS & BONFIRES is a mellow release. It's far from it. "Upbeat Sugar" rocks, and is one song I'd love to hear live given a full on electric reinterpretation (this one is somewhat electric).
If the new songs don't get you, the classics are sure to entertain even the most casual Sevendust fan. "Denial" is a big fan favorite with it's high energy and memorable presentation. This new version is absolutely dark and haunting. It creeps along, with drummer Morgan Rose adding some bongos lightly behind the music to give it a bit more of a dark tribal vibe. It just works. "Trust" is one where the arrangement from the previous acoustic live album returns, but it works once again here. "Black" is a very unique reinterpretation because it's pacing as a song (and specifically lyrically) is odd to begin with. Still, Witherspoon and company find a way to give it new life.
PITRIFF RATING - 92/100 - Like Sevendust as a band, TIME TRAVELERS & BONFIRES is not for everyone. The most underrated band of the last 20 years does what they always do here. They deliver exactly what their fanbase would want. Solid from start to finish, TIME TRAVELERS & BONFIRES is sure to entertain fans until the next plugged in release comes along. That's good enough for me.