Sevendust are back with a new album, ‘Black Out the Sun,’ and the band's ninth studio disc does not disappoint. The follow-up to 2010's 'Cold Day Memory' features the Atlanta rockers at the top of their game.

The album starts off with an instrumental intro titled ‘Memory,’ which features soft guitar riffs that blast into the next track ‘Faithless,’ a cut that follows the heavy-yet-melodic blueprint that Sevendust fan have come to know and love.

One of the strongest songs on the record is ‘Till Death,’ which starts off with some serious guttural vocals right out of the gate. With thunderous percussion and a commanding chorus, this song screams power and is truly an anthem on the album.

Other tracks that show Sevendust's balance of aggression and melody are ‘Mountain,’ which has a southern feel to it, along with ‘Cold as a War’ and the very groovy ‘Nobody Wants It.’ The disc's lead single, ‘Decay,’ is also a prime example of why Sevendust’s combination of harmonious melodies and pummeling guitars work together so well.

It’s no surprise that ‘Black Out the Sun’ is the title track, as it pulls at the heartstrings both lyrically and musically. In our interview with frontman Lajon Witherspoon he talked about the track by saying, “It turned into Clint [Lowery] writing about his father passing on.” He went on to say, “As we’ve gotten older we see death in a different way, it’s our fathers and our mothers and grandparents – as older men we can put these emotions to our music.”

Melodic songs such as ‘Dead Roses,’ ‘Dark AM,’ ‘Picture Perfect’ show off Witherspoon’s soulful vocal abilities, while 'Got a Feeling’ is one of the most heartwarming and touching surprises on the record. On the latter track, Clint Lowery provides soft vocals in the beginning which work together with Witherspoon’s vocals in the chorus. The riffs feature a southern twang that's identifiable with the band's Georgia roots.

The album goes out with a bang, as ‘Murder Bar’ is Sevendust to the core. The track boasts explosive and ferocious vocals mixed with a groovy vibe that fans will certainly bounce to in concert.

Throughout the entire album, stellar riffs are provided by guitarists John Connolly and Clint Lowery, while bassist Vinnie Hornsby keeps things steady with forceful on the low end. Meanwhile, drummer Morgan Rose pounds vigorously behind the skins and offers up some of those killer banshee screams that Sevendust fans crave.

‘Black Out the Sun’ (available on CD here and digitally here) is sure to please old-school fans of the band, while also offering new fans a great introduction to a group that has been rocking out for well over 15 years. Catch Sevendust on the road this spring as they tour in support of the new album with Coal Chamber and Lacuna Coil.

4 Stars