Such an exhausting pace certainly took its toll on the players, who found themselves in shambles at the end of 2000, mentally and physically exhausted. Worst of all, they were somehow broke, despite earning two gold records and playing better than 700 shows. Consequently, the band promptly fired former manager Jay Jay French and has since come back with its strongest effort yet, Animosity. Focusing on its greatest asset -- the stirring, soulful singing of Witherspoon -- Sevendust has streamlined its sound into a more molten, rock-oriented approach that culminates into an underappreciated gem of a record that further distances this band from the rest of the neo-metal pack.
"There's so much traffic right now in the rock world that it's slowly starting to remind me of the early '90s, when you had Poison, Ratt, Cinderella, Bon Jovi -- they were all the big boys, they were all like your Creed, Limp Bizkit, and Korn of this era," drummer Morgan Rose says. "But then you also had the Kick Axes, the Helixes, the Keels, the Britney Foxes -- all of them -- and that's what's starting to happen here. I do feel the urge to separate ourselves from that."