Sevendust knock the listener off of their stride from the get-go on fourteenth full-length offering Truth Killer. Track One of the album, I Might Let The Devil Win, doesn’t stove the ears in with a squalling mix of rambunctious guitars and thunderous drums, active rock style, as you’d expect, but rather creeps into the consciousness with it’s glitchy beats and muted vocals. It’s a brave move. And you’d have to say that it’s a move that works. But it’s also the last surprise on the record, which is either going to be a source of relief or disappointment, depending on where you stand with the band.

The upside, of course, to the ‘no surprises’ scenario is you know just what you’re in for, but really it’s not until the excellent Holy Water, mid way through the album, that the band really get the juices flowing with an energised performance. And if you were hoping for more of that opening track’s twists and turns, well – you’ll probably have stopped listening by now.

It’s not a bad album, you understand – I’m genuinely of the belief that Sevendust don’t make them. But it’s a worrying state of affairs that, that despite none of the dozen tracks here getting anywhere near five minutes in duration, the listener often finds their attention wandering through the more workaday slabs of downtuned grunt n’grind. Leave Hell Behind is an uplifting, headbanging rocker as good as anything in the band’s recent back catalogue, and Superficial Drug is delivered with a lightness of touch absent elsewhere, but these moments of true brilliance are generally outweighed by ‘normal service’. As noted already that’ll be more than enough for many of the band’s rabid army of very loyal fans, but for this reviewer I’m afraid it’s just not enough.

Truth Killer releases on July 18th.