May 13, 2017 Seether – Poison The Parish (Album Review)
South African Rock band Seether have a long history of making intricate melodies, engaging string-work, and relevant lyrical content. Since their inception in 1999 when they went by the name Saron Gas, the band has made their bones on crafting songs that tell their lives, struggles, and, on occasion, address the state of the world. Comprised of Shaun Morgan (guitar/vocals), Dale Stewart (bass/ backing vocals), and John Humphrey (drums), these rockers have been awarded numerous accolades due to their unique brand of Alternative Rock.
In their latest endeavor, Seether has released Poison The Parish – available May 12th on Canine Riot Records via Concord – and this album brings the band out of the traditional “Alternative” category and shifts to the heavier end of the spectrum.
Opening up with “Stoke The Fire,” Seether takes to task the adventure of combining heavy riffs with equally heavy drums, and a disciplined loudness that shakes this track from beneath. The prominence of the drums and percussion on this track is part of what makes it so engaging and exciting. It makes for a great introduction to the kind of record the listener is in for ,because it primes them with these intense poly-rhythms and dense string work. The following track, “Nothing Left,” follows this fervor with the added ferocity of layered screams in the chorus; it rips and rocks with a heady bass threaded throughout.
Mid-album we get the lead single “Let You Down,” which continues to carry this emphasis on deep bass-lines and the rattle of the chest. Morgan’s vocals are cool and clean for most of the song, with occasional effectual overlay for emphasis, and the result is a fine-tuned track that is as compelling as it is intriguing. The chorus is beautiful with its composition and the layering of instruments and effects, avoiding the issue of one overshadowing the other. “Against The Wall” is a striking ballad that carries moments of vocal sharps and is inundated with an emotional longing for understanding and a search for support.
As we approach the end of Poison The Parish, the track “Emotionless” hits deep and dark with a substantial Grunge influence, and the poignant pointedness that demonstrates the pain in the song. Ironically, despite its name, it is emotional and penetrating in its severity and depth. “Feels Like Dying” has a conflicting buoyancy to it in spite of the dread the title implies; there is something deceptively uplifting, almost whimsical, in the guitars and keys of this song. Pair that with the jaunty bounce of the percussion in the verses and this is a song that may not have you feeling that down after all. Finally, “Take A Minute” brings the deluxe edition of Poison The Parish to a close. This is another highly Grunge-infused track that gives way to similar riffage as early Nirvana, but with radically different orchestration and composition; there is a somberness throughout the song that is offset by the high-key string work in the chorus. It is a fascinating and dynamic track that, true to its name, makes you take a minute (or 4 minutes and 29 seconds, to be exact) to go on this final journey with Seether from beginning to end.
Seether have made a name for themselves being socially conscious, as well as dirty and deliberate in their playing; the balance between the weird and chaotic and the precise and fine-tuned seems to be in stasis on Poison The Parish. So, once again the guys have managed just the right amount of sloppy and discipline, as nothing truly great is ever perfect. This latest work by Seether seems to imply that their process, whatever it is, seems to be working just fine for them, and the payoff is a sonic journey unlike their contemporaries or their former selves. So for these reasons, CrypticRock gives Poison The Parish 4 out of 5 stars.