Seven

New Machine (www.sevenband.net)

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Intimate Strangers
First the good news: Cleveland modern-rock commandos Seven are patriotic. They dedicate "American Hero" to "the soldiers who are kicking ass and taking names," laying down a rallying chorus: "American hero/Leading the pack/American hero/Got our back." So we know their heart's in the right place. But is nü metal really worth fighting for?

New Machine is fashioned around the 1999 model, complete with chunky riffs, throaty grrrrooowlz, guitar solos that sound like excerpts from the first Cold album, Sevendust-style chorus harmonies (just in case one person telling you he's about to breeeeaaak doesn't adequately convey high drama), and even nü-core riot-spellnng (see "Pusht" and bassist Alan Nümen's umlaut). Singer Mike Acord explains the disc as "a metaphor, about a guy who is a hardhead, who wakes up and decides it's time to change." Physician, heal thyself.

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