- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Let me be brutally honest for a second here: I wasn't going to buy this package, even as an admittedly huge fan of all things Sevendust. Based on the reviews I have read about it here on Amazon and from what I've heard from fellow fans who bought it, I promised myself I wouldn't buy it. But today, while browsing CDs at the local Best Buy, I found myself jonesing for some new 7D material that will hold me over until my copy of their newest studio album, Chapter VII: Hope and Sorrow, arrives on April 1st. (I have already pre-ordered it, and if you're a hardcore fan you'll do the same.) So I grabbed it, and I have to say it isn't quite as bad as it's been made out to be, in my opinion.
First things first: Retrospective 2, in no way, measures up to the quality of the original "Retrospect" DVD the band released waaaay back before Animosity came out. Simply put, there just isn't enough material here for a collection of this type. Both Retrospect and Southside Double-Wide Acoustic Live did this so much better. But I digress. What we have here is, essentially, a CD/DVD package covering the last two and a half years of Sevendust's career and nothing more. Nothing from the pre-Next era is included, but in a way that makes sense because all four albums from that era were on the band's former label, TVT.
Let's talk about the CD portion first. Nine tracks deep, three studio and six live, it's a bit of a meager song collection. The three "new" studio tracks, "Losing You," "The Rim," and "Sleeper" all sound great, despite the fact that "The Rim" isn't quite new. It was advertised as available only on copies of the Alpha record sold at Target, but strangely enough I found it on the one I purchased at a local music store called New World Record. Anyway, I'm going to go on record here and say that "Sleeper" is easily one of the greatest songs in Sevendust's entire catalog. While "Losing You" is certainly good, it doesn't stack up to this song. A near six-minute opus which perfectly covers all the bases of the band's signature sound. "The Rim," from what I can tell anyways, is more of a joke song than anything else. A few friends of mine have suggested that this song be played nationwide on George W. Bush's final day in office, and I couldn't agree more. You'll just have to hear it and read the lyrics if you haven't to get what I mean. The live tracks, two from Next ("Hero" and "Silence") and four from Alpha ("Deathstar," "Clueless," "Beg to Differ," and "Alpha") are all top-notch performances.
Onto the DVD, which is broken up into four basic parts. It opens up with a rather short video montage, called "A day in the life of Sevendust," of the band gearing up for a concert, set to the song "Aggression" (one of my favorite tracks from the Alpha record) in the background. That's about it. "The making of Next" is a tad on the boring side because, well, it is once again old material. It is the EXACT same "making of" segment as shown on the bonus DVD that came with the Next album, right down to the photo gallery-style video for "Failure" at the end. We are then treated to the music videos for "Ugly" and "Pieces," the former of which being the one I prefer due to its somewhat dark and mysterious nature. The latter is merely a collage of live clips set to the studio track. Finally for the Next portion of the DVD, the band performs "Hero" and "Silence" live, both flawlessly. For the Alpha portion, we get a "making of" segment which is done in a vein similar to the one for Next (although the band members make no comments on any specific songs, which disappointed me) followed by a Q&A event featuring fans asking the band questions about the Alpha album, their career, the live show, and the like. We then get the music videos for "Driven," "Beg To Differ," and "The Rim." Once again, recycled material rears its ugly head, as the video for "The Rim" appeared as an enhanced CD feature on the Alpha record. The video for "Driven" is your typical live clips set to studio music fare (not that this is always a bad thing), and oddly enough the "Beg To Differ" video is actually a live performance. Closing out the Alpha portion of the DVD are three more live performances, "Deathstar," "Clueless," and "Alpha." My favorite of these would have to be "Clueless." It is one of the best tracks on the Alpha record in my opinion and sounds even better in a live context. The DVD ends with a new installment of Morgan as "Pete the A&R Guy," who hasn't been seen since the Seasons album came out back in late '03. While funny in parts, this one doesn't stack up to the original, especially considering the wig Morgan sports here. He looks for all the world like the long lost fifth member of the Beatles. (John, Paul, George, Ringo, and Morgan...has a nice ring to it, don't ya think? :-D )
So yeah, all in all, not a bad collection. Were there not so much recycled stuff here, I would have given this 5 stars. What Sevendust needs to do, and I think I speak for a lot of other fans when I say this, is release a definitive live concert DVD featuring selections from ALL six (and soon to be seven) of their albums. Kinda like Southside Double-Wide, only not acoustic. Retrospect accomplished this quite well with the band having only two studio releases at the time, and the same goes for their 1999 VHS release Live and Loud, so what's stopping them now? That said, I think Sevendust is going to wow us all come April 1st with the release of the new record. If "Prodigal Son," "Inside," and "Scapegoat" (which you can hear on the group's MySpace page) are any indication, get ready for one awesome album.