Seether
Holding Onto Strings Better Left to Fray


2.0
poor

Review

by YourBore USER (3 Reviews)
June 18th, 2011 | 18 replies | 4,734 views


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The band delivered the disappointment all followers knew they would. Apart from a song or two, there seems little hope "on to" which fans can hold.

3 of 3 thought this review was well written

Seether has been at the top of the hard rock scene for nearly a decade. The Disclaimer albums as well as Karma and Effect were amazing for the genre. These facts only serve to make their latest release, Holding Onto Strings Better Left To Fray (I suppose I can forgive the grammatical error), the most disappointing album of the year. In fact, to fully describe it, the review would need to be R-rated.

What better place to start than the beginning? "Fur Cue" kicks everything off heavy in classic Seether style. If you are still fooled by this tactic, then I guess their plan is working. It seems that the band feels that they can trick their old fans into thinking that nothing has changed and the band is still the Seether of the past. While the song is the heaviest, this does not mean it is the best. Seether generally puts one of the best songs of the album first, but this one does not come close to the previous album openers ("Gasoline", "Because of Me", and "Like Suicide"). Let's not let the band get off easy with that song title, either. "Fur Cue"? Really? How cute. Too bad those words make no furking sense when placed together. Maybe Britney Spears helped them out with the song title.

After the not-so-terrible "Fur Cue", listeners are treated to two songs so nauseating and heartless ("No Resolution" and "Here and Now") they'll be fooled in to thinking "Country Song" is of quality. The songs just don't go anywhere. There is seemingly no emotion behind them and, as a result, they are absolutely boring. At least the band experimented a little with "Country Song", but it missed the mark as well. It is quite an accomplishment to do something fairly unique and still manage to be completely generic (the group-chanted "hey"s and "woah"s seal the song's fate). The song actually has a good bridge that may make one forget that the song is forgettable. Until the chorus kicks back in, that is.

Let's discuss the positives of the album for a minute so you can catch your breath before we return the mountains of disappointment. The direction taken for Holding Onto Strings Better Left To Fray will not be favorable for the majority of Seether fans, but it is a respectable progression since the band did not take the route that many others (such as Nickelback) have. Even with this undesirable direction, there are three songs on the album that are very enjoyable listens. Unfortunately, it takes until the 5th song of the album for Seether to treat their fans to "Master of Disaster". This song is really nothing overwhelmingly special, but it feels like one of the few songs on the album Shaun Morgan (guitarist and lead vocals) actually felt. As he croons, "You stole my dreams...I'm dead inside", you can genuinely feel the disgust in his voice. The song also features an awesome bass interlude toward the end that is absolutely perfect for the song. The rhythm section, with John Humphries on drums and Dale Stewart on bass, highlighting the album is nothing new; that is Seether's style of music. "Roses" uses keys along with the traditional Seether-style of music to create a song that sets a mood like no other on the album. It is dark and ominous throughout most of the song, but a key change in later choruses provides release and a sense of hope for listeners. It truly is an fulfilling experience. The surprise (and possibly best song) of the album comes follows immediately. As "Down" starts, you may think you are listening to a song by The Toadies. It is is different in the most positive sense of the word and is just different enough to keep you interested during the verses before it blasts you with a catchy chorus. True greatness comes from Pearl Jam-esque solo (it is by far the best Seether solo to date) and the outro. No one has ever accused Seether of using profanity in a productive manner, but here Morgan sings the most effective profane words of his career. As the song comes to a close, the lyrics of the chorus change slightly and he belts, "Why'd you f***ing doubt me, why'd you have to put me down?". This is not about the lyrics. This is about the feeling. These words give hope that somewhere deep inside, there may still be some passion left inside Morgan.

One should note that Morgan seems to have worked out some issues in his life and is now a happier man, as evidenced by this new music. Formerly dark bands, like Seether, putting out happy songs is not a problem as long as the sincerity is still there. The problem is the majority of these type songs on Holding Onto Strings Better Left to Fray feel fake, as Shaun would love to say. It is simply unnatural for Morgan to be singing about such bright subjects. Happy songs are more difficult to write and he does not seem to have the ability to sing them in the way they are meant to be sung. That being said, Morgan does succeed in the sure-to-be hit, "Tonight". It may not be the cup-of-tea for older fans of the band, but a good song is a good song no matter the band that wrote it.

There are plenty of forgettable songs on the album and that is forgivable to an extent. However, there is no forgiveness for "Pass Slowly". The only PG-rated word that can be used to describe the song is "atrocious". I've never been one to skip songs when listening to albums, but that lousy excuse for a song is unacceptable. "Desire for Need" sounds like a song pulled straight from a Disclaimer b-side cd, "Fade Out" builds up massive potential during the first verse and fizzles out, and "Forsaken" is an uninspired album closer. In contrast to the generally well-produced nature of the album, the bass drum sounds awful. It nearly sounds dead. It is like they recorded some guy hitting a mattress with a hammer. This distraction is quite disappointing since Humphries is a very solid drummer.

Even though the album is not all bad, but there are certainly much more negatives than positives to discuss. The band seems to be in a downward spiral and there may be no coming back. It may be time for Seether to hang it up if they cannot find a way to put more energy and passion into future releases. The talent is certainly there. It is just a matter of finding the drive to keep on going.

Recommended Tracks:
Master of Disaster
Roses
Down


user ratings (220)
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
YourBore
June 18th 2011



32 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I wrote an email to the staff over a week ago asking if it was ok if I posted reviews that I have written for my personal blog (http://bradsmusicalmusings.blogspot.com ) to sputnik, but received no response.

If allowed, I'll gradually move more of my reviews to the sputnik database.

YourBore
June 18th 2011



32 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

arrrg...there is a missing quote and I apparently messed up trying to do italics in the summary. can someone help me figure out how to edit? Sorry for being such a newbie.

EDIT: Got it.

Jom
Staff Reviewer
June 18th 2011



2667 Comments


My Profile --> Edit My Reviews [left-hand column] --> [this review] and you're golden.

Acanthus
June 18th 2011



9537 Comments


Nice review, I've steered clear of the band once I caught wind of the new direction.

YourBore
June 18th 2011



32 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Thanks. I appreciate it.

Yeah, I've stayed away too for the most part. They were a staple of my teenage years and I still enjoy their first couple releases from time to time, but FBINS and this new one are just not good.

R6Rider
June 18th 2011



4562 Comments


my local radio station loves to play Country Song

can't stand this band

Digging: Plebeian Grandstand - How Hate is Hard to Define

Acanthus
June 18th 2011



9537 Comments


I actually find FBINS enjoyable more often than not, but I like to start listening to a bands latter offerings than work my way backwards on occasion.

Same here R6Rider

toxin.
June 18th 2011



12278 Comments


Nice review. I thought your comparison to "For Cue" to Britney Spears was very clever (and true).

YourBore
June 18th 2011



32 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

FBINS does have it's moments ("Like Suicide" is the style of Seether that I really enjoy), but it definitely felt like it was missing something. I could tell they were on the way out (for my tastes) when I first heard it.

I used to love Seether, but when "Country Song" comes on the radio, I actually change the station.

Acanthus
June 18th 2011



9537 Comments


To be honest FBINS was my introduction to the band so I can't harbor much hate for it besides the obvious shortcomings.

YourBore
June 18th 2011



32 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

That's cool, you won't get any attacks from me over it haha. I actually really tried to like that cd, but over time I grew away from it. In fact, if you go look at Jom's review of FBINS, you'll see that I tried to defend the album heavily in the comments. I think those were my first ever comments. I had just lurked the site until then.

So Jom, I apologize....but I still think it is undeserving of a 1 ;)

Acanthus
June 18th 2011



9537 Comments


Oh I agree it's not worthy of a 1, and I really enjoyed "Like Suicide" quite a bit - I always give albums dedicated to a lost family member a slight edge when critiquing as well, I thought Shaun's brother would have been proud.

Irving
Staff Reviewer
June 19th 2011



7164 Comments


The review was alright in terms of content and prose and grammar, but for some reason the repeated use of personal pronouns only served to befuddle, irritate, and then annoy me. There's no "right" way to write a review, but talking at your target audience is, in my humble opinion, one of the least effective ways to do it.

Digging: Ty Segall - Manipulator

YourBore
June 19th 2011



32 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I had a long reply typed out and there was an error in the submission....

Long story short, I said something to the effect of:

Thanks for your input. I generally do not use the words "I" and "you" in my writing and am not sure how all the "you"s slipped by me this time (I may end up replacing them with "one"). Also, I feel that reviews can be given leniency on using the words since it is someone delivering their opinion to an audience directly (even if I don't use them myself). I appreciate your advice whether I implement it in future reviews or not.

If you weren't referring to the use of the word "you", I'm not sure if I know to what you were referring. :/


(it was a much longer reply, but that was the general idea)

sonictheplumber2
June 19th 2011



256 Comments


gay band

Irving
Staff Reviewer
June 19th 2011



7164 Comments


If you weren't referring to the use of the word "you", I'm not sure if I know to what you were referring. :/

I was indeed. Your reasoning for using the word seems fair enough. I can say this though: you definitely do write well; your work simply needs to find its voice and have a bit more "refinement". Keep at it. We could always use new talent like yours around here =)

FearThyEvil
June 19th 2011



12480 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Is this better or worse than their last album?

YourBore
June 19th 2011



32 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Thanks for the encouragement. I'm just glad to get some feedback.

FearThyEvil, I think it is worse than the last album. This one gets extremely boring and it was actually becoming tough on me to reach the 7-10 listens that I like to put in before reviewing. I won't be returning to this album very soon, if ever. Very few songs have quality replay value, imo. If you liked the last album (it isn't my favorite), you may like find this one more enjoyable than I did.



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