Seether "Holding onto Strings Better Left to Fray" Review — 5 out of 5 stars
Thu, 08 Sep 2011 08:43:02
Rock 'n' roll is more alive than ever.
Even though the VMAs might lead one to believe Foo Fighters are the genre's only act alive and kicking, there has been a bevy of mind-blowing rock releases this year and last—immediately Staind and Alter Bridge come to mind. Also, let's not forget Korn, Jane's Addiction, and Five Finger Death Punch all have highly anticipated records on the way.
Maybe Lady Gaga had the biggest debut of 2011, but staying power doesn't elude great rock bands the way it does pop acts. Instead, they thrive in the long-run, gaining even more reverence as time goes by, negating the necessity of first-week Billboard numbers and iTunes chart positions that other genres subsist on. By the same token, they're not an indie flash in the pan, lauded by critics across the board for a year and then forgotten. Remember MGMT? Will anyone remember Mumford & Sons and Foster the People? Only time will tell, and I digress...
Seether's latest offering, Holding onto Strings Better Left to Fray is not only the best album in the band's catalog, it's also one of the best records this year. Plus, it debuted at number #2 on the Billboard Top 200 and yielded a massive single in "Country Song". However, that's only the beginning of the story.
Holding onto Strings Better Left to Fray is everything that timeless hard rock should be. It's an engaging, emotional, and entrancing roller coaster of a record built on a framework of tight songwriting and intense delivery. Opener "Fur Cue" ebbs and flows over a chugging guitar before breaking into an energetic verse charged by Dale Stewart's thick bass and John Humphrey's impenetrable drumming. Over this rhythmic canvas, singer and guitarist Shaun Morgan oscillates between visceral vocals and a hypnotic harmony that's both warm and wild. The song's hook reaches the heavens before crashing down on one final scream. It's a powder keg of an opener that sets off the whole album properly. "Fur Cue" stands out as the band's best kick-off yet, but that's only the beginning.
A hazy lead line cuts through the calculated drums on "No Resolution" as Morgan intones, "I'm doing fine even though you preyed upon my mind". The frontman sounds pristine and poignant as he fires off a massive refrain ending with "I'm your pollution". Morgan has the talent to encode vitriol within the space of beautiful melodies and hooks. That's something he shares with not only Corey Taylor of Slipknot and Stone Sour and Aaron Lewis of Staind but also Kurt Cobain, Chris Cornell, and Layne Staley. Only the best in this genre can do that.
Hit single "Country Song" shimmies from a southern stomp into another arena-ready line. However, Morgan truly shines during the more introspective fare. "Master of Disaster" is a haunting and hypnotic elegy while "Fade Out" snaps from a guttural distorted riff into another powerful meandering melody. Everything finally comes to a head on the nearly orchestral darkness of "Forsaken" as a piano rolls into a distorted hum.
The record begs to be listened to from beginning to end, and Seether deserve that attention. So here we have a juggernaut of an album that performed incredibly and is bound to be remembered by all those affected by it. They did it all the old fashioned way without the approval of the so-called "tastemakers", zeitgeist, MTV, record industry experts, and other "gatekeepers". They wrote great songs. That's all it takes.
See our interview with Shaun Morgan here!
Have you heard Holding onto Strings Better Left to Fray? Will you be seeing Seether on Uproar?
Stay tuned for our exclusive video interview with the band…