Recording information: Architekt Studios, Butler, New Jersey.
Photographer: Jim Ansell.
Revisiting a concept that they first explored a decade previously on their 2004 live album Southside Double-Wide: Acoustic Live, Sevendust shed their metal side for Time Travelers & Bonfires. Stripping away the massive, crunchy guitar work that drove their sound on other albums, Sevendust have found a way to convert raw aggression into something more nuanced. The band attacks the songs here -- made up of half new tracks and half re-recorded versions of older songs -- with the same intensity that fans are used to, so while the volume might be lower, the passion is still there. Much like Black Label Society's similar experiment with the live album Unblackened, Time Travelers & Bonfires gives fans of the band a clearer look at the emotional core that lives at the heart of Sevendust's music, further stressing the importance of singer Lajon Witherspoon's vocal performances. While Witherspoon always seems to put everything he's got into his performance, the acoustic setting finally gives fans a clear view of the passion the singer injects into Sevendust's hard-hitting sound. With an album like this, there's always a worry that the band has just turned its powerful rock songs into lowly power ballads, but with Time Travelers & Bonfires, Sevendust have managed to tame their fiery songwriting without extinguishing it altogether. In the end, the album feels like an experiment in restraint, with Sevendust casting aside the crutch of distortion to see if their songwriting can stand up on its own. Fortunately for fans, they seem to doing just fine without it, making for an album that provides a welcome diversion from the rest of the band's hard-rocking back catalog. ~ Gregory Heaney
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