Review Summary: Not Seether's worst album, but it could have been so much more.
”Words are weapons of the terrified”, Shaun Morgan points out in "Words As Weapons", the lead single of Isolate and Medicate
. Well, if we are to judge by the lyrics of this album, it would seem that Morgan isn’t terrified, because words, in fact, aren’t his weapons -- not the strongest ones, at least.
Seether’s sixth album, Isolate and Medicate
, begins with “See You At the Bottom”, a song that is all too familiar for their discography. Soft, grungy guitar picking, which leads into a wall of crashing cymbals accompanied with a repeated riff. The verse is slow, and the chorus is heavy, yet very catchy.
In fact, Seether’s trademark sound is found throughout this album, providing mixed results. When Morgan tries to add some new nuances to his singing - case in point, the high pitched, nasally voice in the hook of “Same Damn Life” - it doesn’t really work out. The song still has its positives, though, and the chorus is quite catchy, again. But are they only capable of making catchy choruses and nothing else in between" It seems that the answer is sadly yes.
Seether’s biggest strength has always been making songs that their teenage to borderline adult fanbase can easily relate to. But after 14 years of making songs together, they have officially run out of ideas. The lyrical themes in this album can be found in just about every other album they have to offer, and if you own Karma & Effect
or Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces
, those contain the better songs anyway.
With that being said, though, it’s not like you can’t listen to this album more than once. There are, like I said, many a catchy chorus and ear-soothing melodies. But they fail to really capitalize on some of that momentum.
“Suffer It All” begins very promisingly, but sadly - when it seems that the song is only just building - it goes into irritating repetitions. The ballads in the album are also sub-par. “Crash” is generic, starting with its name to everything that’s in it, while “Save Today” ends the album on a really low note. “Nobody Praying For Me” might as well have been a Nickelback cover. The collaboration with Van Coke Kartel on “Goodbye Tonight” feels totally out of place. It rather sounds like a Holding Onto Strings Better Left to Fray
reject which – if you’re heard the album – is not a compliment.
But when you come to think of it, there are a couple of encouraging signs in the album as well. “Words As Weapons”, “My Disaster” and “Keep the Dogs At Bay” are all actually pretty good songs. “Burn the World” on the Deluxe Edition is also a solid bonus, and while they all follow the same formula, they get the pass because of being a little adventurous in this otherwise generic offering.
Long story short, Isolate and Medicate
doesn’t have anything extraordinary to offer. I do think that a bit more perspective would ease the fans’ perception a bit, but only if they pursue the positives shown in this album’s best songs. A lot of promise was shown in quite a few songs but they ultimately fell victim to the desire of making the songs sound more marketable. This is not their worst album – in fact, it’s considerably better than the last one – but it could have been so much more.
: Words As Weapons, Keep the Dogs At Bay, Burn the World