Sound — 7
You'll get some insight into the changing times that Sevendust experienced over the past few years (namely recruiting guitarist Sonny Mayo and transferring to a new label) in their latest release Retrospective 2. No, you didn't miss any album called Retrospective 1 - but there was a similarly titled DVD called Retrospect. Apart from the odd choice in title, the newest CD/DVD combo does include 3 unreleased songs and quite a few interviews that give insight into the making of Next and Alpha. Out of all the features, it's the DVD portion that is the biggest draw to the package.
The audio portion of Retrospective 2 consists primarily of live tracks, and the band does sound incredible performing hits like Alpha and Deathstar. The newest songs Losing You, Sleeper, and The Rim (the last of which was already an international bonus track on Alpha) don't immediately grab you at first, but Sonny Mayo does have some fantastic riffs throughout that definitely begin to grow on you. Although the tracks are ones that take a few listens to get into, Sevendust needs to be commended on how prolific they've remained. They just released Alpha back in March and they're already supplying us a few more tasty morsels of new material.
There are a few different sections to the DVD: a brief day in the life of Sevendust, interviews/behind-the-scenes/live footage covering the albums Next and Alpha, and a comical Punk'd-like scene at the end. Even though fans should really enjoy the band interviews, they actually become fairly monotonous in some parts. That's primarily due to the fact that each member of the band often has the exact word-for-word answer for the question being asked - and each answer is played back-to-back. It's cool to get the whole band's take on working with producer Shawn Grove, but the editors might have wanted to snip off just a little bit of each answer to add some variety.
Oddly enough, the most interesting portion of the DVD is titled Pete The A&R Guy. Basically the cameras are following Pete, an extremely annoying and pushy individual, as he works at lining up all the gear Sevendust needs for an upcoming tour. Pete acts so obnoxious to the music store staff that it's almost uncomfortable to watch. Thankfully, there is a big payoff in the last minute when a twist ending is revealed.
Lyrics — 7
Of the 3 new songs, you'll get bitter sadness (Losing You) and a lot of straight-up anger (The Rim). Among that material, The Rim is probably the most amusing song, if only because it does not hold back the testosterone. Vocalist Lajon Witherspoon sings, How long does it take to get an answer to f--king questions? I always wanted to let you know; I don't give a shit. It's pretty blatant with it's anger, but it never hurts to have a song completely dedicated to being pissed off every once in a while. The themes and wording may be too predictable for some, but Witherspoon delivers them in such a way that you're able to feel the emotion behind it all.
Overall Impression — 7
While it was good to get a taste of Sevendust's songs to come, the DVD is hands-down the main feature. You get 9 songs on the audio CD, but even for a live release - which most of the songs are - that's a fairly small amount of tracks. It's definitely more of a worthwhile experience to watch the DVD, which although isn't the most captivating, should be appreciated by Sevendust's most dedicated fans.