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Sevendust, ‘Alpha’ (7Bros./ Asylum)

After stomping through the late ’90s with a punishing aggro-metal attack, Sevendust eased off the throttle during the past few years, even putting out a live acoustic record. It was a good move, though it left their more dogmatic fans hoarse from howling, “Sell-outs!” Unfortunately, Alpha answers the hecklers with an uninspiring return to unrelenting brutality. Sevendust’s dark, grinding riffage still unloads a serious wallop, but save for the dynamic “Burn,” this single-minded assault is so bleak, it’s suffocating.

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