Review: Seether - Holding Onto Strings Better Left to Fray

 While the mass post grunge explosion of the early 2000s may have dwindled away in terms of it's overall sense of popularity and credibility, there's no denying that the performers are still going strong to the delight/dismay of many music enthusiasts across the globe. Some bands have a musical sound that at best can be described as "turgid", while other acts make it quite enjoyable. For a while one of the groups that have made post grunge enjoyable has been South African trio Seether. It's been cool seeing the way the group's ability to bring in a little extra sense of wit and originality to a genre often slated for it's often dull characteristics. However, their fifth album Holding Onto Strings Better Left to Fray doesn't really manage to ignite quite as well as one would have hoped and shows signs that the group could well get buried with the rest of their post-grunge peers.

 That's not to say this album is fully dire because without a doubt, there are plenty moments on this album that will draw in fans of Seether's previous work. Opener Fur Cue is alive in it's fiery grunge explosion filled with bitterness and unrefined anger that has fueled some of the group's finest hours and despite it's predictable and less-encouraging influence from country rock music, the power in terms of heaviness and hooks found in the aptly titled Country Song is undeniable.
 One of the prime features of this album is the performance of Shaun Morgan. I could imagine there are some people who may have reservations about his style, but it's executed well here and covers a wide emotional spectrum effectively. His performance on the ballad Pass Slowly is touching and Down is pretty immense in it's sense of bitter fury. Essentially, if you like your music filled with big hooks and bigger choruses that release a more emotional impact than other mainstream acts, you'll probably have a great time with this album.
 But if you like your music a little more substantial, I would suggest looking elsewhere because this album comes with a lot of moments that are pretty much crafted for radio play. Tracks like Here and Now and Fade Out feel like they could be a lot heavier but have had the distortion levels turned down for radio play and it really manages to remove Seether of their teeth and full-blooded assault that they've come to be loved for.
 So, while this album manages to get a little dull and losing in it's sense of creativity at times, the ability to bring hooks and bouncy riffs to songs designed to be bleak is undeniable, plus the real saving grace of the album is Morgan's performance which remains passionate when the other bandmates aren't doing so. Perhaps Seether are the master of radio rock. What a horrible title to gain.

 Seether's Holding Onto Strings Better Left to Fray is out now via Wind Up Records. The band will tour the UK from the 11th-15th March with 3 Doors Down.