South African alt-rock kings Seether have come along way from their beginnings in Pretoria to dominate rock radio airwaves Stateside. The band, led by vocalist and guitarist Shaun Morgan and completed by bassist Dale Stewart and drummer Jon Humphries, first rose to major prominence with the singles ‘Broken’, ‘Fine Again’ and ‘Remedy’. Now a decade later, the trio have an enviable back catalogue of smash hit singles under their belts and even organised their own charitable festival.
Following on from their recent Download appearance, Seether have returned with album number five ‘Isolate and Medicate’.
As the name suggests neither time or success has dimmed the band’s emotional depth or tamed the bite of their hard hitting songwriting. Opener ‘See You At The Bottom’ begins with a downtrodden tuned down bass and guitar lines before exploding potently into life with Morgan’s trademark soulful growl.
The album’s first standout moment comes in the form of ‘Same Damn Life’, a punchy, unexpectedly poppy effort highlighted by an accomplished falsetto from Morgan in the chorus but still packed with Seether’s trademark grit and angst.
First single ‘Words as Weapons’ is fairly standard Seether fare, a distortion driven nu-metal feeling chorus given added feeling by some spine tingling vocal harmonies from Morgan, as the frontman shows off an impressive and varied vocal range.
In the form of ‘Crash’ Morgan and co have created their most stirring and emotionally effecting track since 2008’s ‘Rise Above This’. The song is a sweeping ballad, laden with intricately layered guitar lines and some more great vocal work from Morgan. Effortlessly understated in the verses before gearing up for a stratospheric deliver for the chorus hook.
’Watch Me Drown’ is another song destined to be a single number, upbeat and up tempo muted guitars providing deceptively positive backing as the vocals snarl a dark lyrical description of a soul destroying negative relationship.
Thanks largely due to Seether’s close relationship with legendary producer Brendan O’Brian (Pearl Jam), the whole album come across as tight and focused, with every layer of instrumentation serving a purpose.
Things finish in wistfully reflective fashion with slow burning acoustic ballad ‘Save The Day’, the track builds beautifully before breaking out into a final electric guitar backed chorus and one of the record’s few guitar solos
’Isolate and Medicate’ is another strong release from one of the world’s most consistent alt-rock outfits, and once again states the case for Morgan being by far one of his genre’s most under-rated songwriters. Although not taking the band into any form of new territory, or being quite as excellent as ‘Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces’, every track on ‘Isolate and Medicate’ has the good enough to be a single feel, as well as being loaded with levels of genuine and relatable feeling and emotion that would seem forced coming out of the mouths and amps of similar acts.
‘Isolate and Medicate’ by Seether is out on the 30th of June on Spinefarm Records.
Words by Dane Wright (@MrDaneWright)