Across 25 years and 13 studio albums — their latest, Blood & Stone, is due out October 23rd — Sevendust have made a name for themselves with a bold, hard-hitting sound that embraces elements of everything from classic heavy metal to Nineties alternative rock to soaring R&B. Considering their wide-ranging approaches and influences, it should come as no surprise that the band members listen to all kinds of music. With that mind, we hit up co-founding guitarist John Connolly and asked him to recommend five non-metal albums for metalheads. He had some great picks — see below.
Barton Hollow was the album that put them on the map, but The Civil Wars is such a haunting collection of songs. "Dust to Dust" is absolutely one of my favorite songs ever written and their cover of Smashing Pumpkins' "Disarm" is stunning. Part country, part folk and a duo that wrote some of the most beautiful music together, mostly by accident. They were a random pairing at a Nashville songwriters workshop that definitely worked. Sadly, they are no longer together, but they were one of the coolest surprise finds. Absolutely worth a long listen.
One of the cooler finds in my exploration into electronic music. A dark record with some exceptional songwriting. "Tear Drop" was the song that caught my attention and I wore this record out when we were writing Home. There was a certain unpredictability to their melodies that I was really drawn to and they definitely had an influence on my writing process for awhile. Still a record that I go back to from time to time to draw upon. Dark, moody and very different.
Another record we wore out during the Home writing process. A record that, although isn't a metal record at all, is one that most metal musicians are very aware of due to the vocal and guitar skills of Ian Thornley. One of the most underrated singer-songwriter-guitar players in the game and can shred with the best of them ... in addition to being one of the better blues players around. Ian has a unique combination of talent that oddly enough translates into some of the most radio-friendly and accessible music that came out in 1998. Lyrically and musically, a brilliant album from start to finish, with "Prayer" being a true standout track. Big Wreck is a criminally underrated band all around.
My daughter actually is responsible for this one. [Laughs] We took her to see them on the Emotional Roadshow World Tour and I really knew nothing about them, other than the songs I had heard on the radio ... and there were a lot of them! One of the better shows I'd seen live and even more so when I realized it was just two guys. Fast forward to the Bandito Tour and I had done some homework. Trench was one of the best pop records I'd ever heard and is a record I listen to all the time, still to this day. Lyrically smart and musically very to the point, but in a very unique and original way. A true standout pop band and this record is the one I spend the most time with. Dark and conceptual and full of great songwriting. Not ashamed to admit I'm very influenced by this band and will probably see them next time they come through town.
Surfacing was her big breakthrough record and the one that won all the awards, but Fumbling was the record that set it up, and ... is better on just about every level. And, to be honest, my first experience with Sarah ... The voice and songwriting were so on another level on this album. I spent a lot of time with this record during the writing process of our first four records and was influenced melodically quite a bit. I probably spent as much time with this record as I did with Vulgar Display of Power and Master of Puppets, which were huge inspirations. Hands down one of my favorite albums of all time. A record that still stops me in my tracks when I hear any song from it, especially "Elsewhere" or "Ice." A desert island album, for sure.