Adolescent anger fuels most hard rock, so the long-term prospects for bands such as Sevendust are dreary: As their indignation flags, their music is likely to either go soft or become rote. On its fourth studio album, "Seasons," the Atlanta quintet is still bristling but is peeved about more grown-up stuff. Such tunes as "Broken Down" and the almost folk-rock "Skeleton Song" apologize for drug- and alcohol-stoked bad behavior. The disc's most militant number, "Enemy," is a rap-metal assault on Devildriver singer Dez Fafara for allegedly abusing former band mate Rayna Foss, who later married Sevendust drummer Morgan Rose.
Domesticity and sobriety haven't yet blunted the band's edge, but then Sevendust's metal has always had a creamy center. While "Seasons" features more acoustic guitars and fewer industrial beats than its predecessor, "Animosity," both albums are well outfitted with anthemic choruses. And singer Lajon Witherspoon is more flexible than most heavy-rock vocalists, capable of lilting as convincingly as he growls. It remains to be seen if these guys will have anything to sing about when they outgrow their demons, but Sevendust just might go soft more credibly than, say, Devildriver.
-- Mark Jenkins
Appearing Sunday with Ill Nino and Element Eighty at the 9:30 club. * To hear a free Sound Bite from Sevendust, call Post-Haste at 202-334-9000 and press 8105. (Prince William residents, call 703-690-4110.)