There's an easy way to distinguish between "alternative metal" and regular, old-timey heavy metal. Critics and rock anatomists will tell you about "time signatures" and "syncopation," but the lyrics offer a more rewarding contrast. For example, instead of instructing the head-banging masses to "Pour some sugar on me," an alternative-metal rocker might raise an eyebrow and ask: "What is sugar?" Sevendust is kinda like that. With their industrial threads and goth-y tats, this hard-riffing quintet from Atlanta doesn't exactly exude introspection and artful expansiveness, but one finds intriguing veins of both in their music. On "Unraveling," the lead single from the band's upcoming disc, Cold Day Memory, vocalist Lajon Witherspoon dresses down a lost friend or lover amidst bottom-heavy guitars and a spare but effective melody. Formed waaaaay back in 1992, the band has cultivated a loyal following with precisely the same formula — catchy hardcore rock with soulful themes. Fortunately for their fans, they're regular Valley visitors, having headlined KUPD's "End of the Summer Scorcher" last September. The new album drops April 20.
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