SAYREVILLE, NJ—It was supposed to be a day dominated by The Big 4 Concert at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx featuring heavy metal heavyweights Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax, but in Slayerville, NJ, fans of heavy metal middleweights Sevendust, couldn’t care less about what was happening across the Hudson River. In fact, since it was Jersey Shore radio station 95.9FM WRAT’s 15th Anniversary, tickets for the Sevendust show were only $9.59, which was far cry from the $120 tickets for The Big 4 show. Regardless, the turnout for this show was quite impressive.

Unfortunately, thanks to Jersey Turnpike traffic, I missed opening band New Theory, but I arrived just in time to see my bro, Shottie and his boys in Ashes of Your Enemy tear it up! Ashes of Your Enemy, who are now a four-piece with singer Kevin Schormann picking up the guitar, opened with an appropriate song, “Face Of The Flood,” but then ripped through songs like “Heartless Divine,” “Embodiment of Rage,” “Black Out The Sun,” “Cancer Society,” “Soul Cannot Be Saved” and “Hate Anthem.” These guys are vets of the Jersey music scene, and their performance on that Starland stage proved why. With singer Kevin Schormann’s Shadows Fall-esque vocals and Shottie’s crunching and energetic guitar riffs, they left this rabid anti-Big 4 crowd begging for more, and they were about to get it!

Though, I just saw Sevendust a few weeks earlier at the Uproar Festival in Camden, I was salivating for this show, because in Camden, they only performed a short set of six songs. This was going to be a full-blown Sevendust set! After a short break, Sevendust hit the stage opening their set with “Splinter,” off of their latest CD, Cold Day Memory. Singer Lajon Witherspoon thanked the packed house for choosing Sevendust over the Big 4, and he promised that he, John Connolly, Clint Lowery, Vince Hornsby and Morgan Rose, were going to prove that we made the right choice.

Right after that, Sevendust exploded into songs like “Praise,” “Alpha,” “Enemy,” “Suffocate,” “Strong Arm Broken” and “Forever,” but when it came to performing my favorite song, “Black,” and hearing the crowd sing that song back to the band, I felt something special in that room. Sevendust really appreciate their fans and the audience showed them why. After “Black,” Sevendust rounded out their set with “Driven,” “Pieces,” and “The End Is Coming.” After a short break, Lajon and company returned to the stage to kick us in the teeth with “Face To Face” as their encore.

To me, Sevendust is at the top of their game with their classic lineup in place. I hope rumors about a possible hiatus don’t materialize, because on this night Sevendust proved that they belonged on a stage as big as The Big 4.

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