Always the bridesmaid, never the bride: That might as well be Sevendust's mantra. Although the Atlanta quintet is perpetually on the verge of breaking through, it's never quite reached the status of past tourmates -- Limp Bizkit, Creed, Drowning Pool and Incubus -- that have leapfrogged the act both critically and commercially. Sevendust is nothing if not resilient, though. Since forming more than a decade ago under the Crawlspace moniker, it's managed to sustain a five-album career, while most of those bands have seen diminished returns. Next, Sevendust's latest, is as readily accessible (and indistinguishable) as its past releases -- which is precisely what's kept the unit from realizing greater acclaim. Aside from the addition of former Snot axman Sonny Mayo, who replaced founding guitarist Clint Lowery, and parting ways with TVT, little has changed here. Led by the impassioned vocals of Lajon Witherspoon and fortified with the band's trademark melody and aggression, Next highlights Sevendust's limited range, marked by predictable dynamics and arrangements. Unless Witherspoon and company become multi-dimensional, they'll always be just Next best.
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