Seether
Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum


4.0
excellent

Review

by Simon K. STAFF
August 28th, 2020 | 75 replies


Release Date: 08/28/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: If you want peace, prepare for war.

Coincidentally, at the turn of Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum’s announcement I was in the midst of listening to Seether’s back catalogue again for the first time in years. What instigated my efforts in going back through their discography was founded on hearing “Words as Weapons” on my iTunes Shuffle; after the song in question had finished I sat there for a moment, bemused by why I didn’t listen to Seether more often – after all, this is a band with some really great songs under their belt. However, by the time I had finished Poison the Parish it all made sense to me again: Seether are, and always have been, in an eternal loop which sees them repeating the exact same pros and cons with an unflinching ignorance. To some degree their consistency with these perfectly preserved raptures and frustrations is impressive to behold, but then it’s also extremely obtuse when you sit and study the untapped potential being squandered here. Every single one of their albums has an equilibrium within itself: a harmony that presents their typically engaging alt-rock style – tweaked a little bit with every passing iteration, as age and experience engulfs them – with an equal portion of prosaic imitation, and a short attention span that corrodes any of the cohesion to be had.

The really impressive part about Seether though, is even with these issues they still haven’t actually made an outright bad album (even though Holding Onto Strings Better Left To Fray dances very close to the fire) but then, it can’t be understated that Seether have an awful track record of losing focus halfway through an album, resulting in a finished product filled with as many vacuous, humdrum rock jingles as there are authentic ones. As is the case with every album they’ve released in the last ten years, I’ve sat here hopeful that one day they could break the perpetual cycle, and fortunately for Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum’s first single, “Dangerous” displayed that promising prospect. It’s not that “Dangerous” completely redesigns the framework or anything so brash, but one subtle element caught my attention: Shaun’s vocal approach. Underneath the bouncy, chorus-lathered bassline and the creeping guitar passages, Shaun’s typical baritone and grit sounded a touch more benign than normal – a little softer on the ears. In turn, this nuanced approach encapsulated a fresh perspective and a new way of going about the way they’d usually presented their writing style. On the whole the track was bloody catchy, heavy and more importantly, engaging; although, in hindsight not entirely indicative of the album.

With “Dangerous” promoting this thing I was actually really looking forward to seeing the album’s release. Yet, with baited breath the question lingered – will Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum break their longstanding dance with repeated mistakes? Well, I can confidently say that this is the most consistent album they’ve ever produced. Though it’s a little jarring to hear most of the songs opening up with the watery, isolated twanging of guitar, there’s an ethereal tone that’s ubiquitous with the record, and it’s all the stronger for it. Concern reared its head when I saw the album had a string of thirteen songs to plough through, preparing myself for a roller coaster ride of patchy moods, but I was pleasantly surprised by how cohesively pieced together the album was. Even the record’s proceeding singles – which initially failed to pique my interest to the same degree “Dangerous” did – fit snuggly in the context of the record. There’s a number of transparent influences, namely the use of Chevelle’s dense The North Corridor sound, and the ceaseless support from the Nirvana blanket, but these influences are actually overshadowed this time by some really solid songwriting. The thick instrumentals and vocals on “Beg” bring a really raw Ænima quality to the table, while “Dead and Done” and “Let It Go” come from the lineage of Poison the Parish and its adulation for the aforementioned Chevelle sound. However, these influences are never used into being a detriment. In fact, this is probably the first time Seether have used their inspirations with auspicious results, and that’s because they had a solid foundation to build upon.

Overall, Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum does a nice job of handling the heavy stuff here, but I can’t help but gravitate towards the slower, more poignant jams. As good as the elasticated alt-rock grooves are, and Shaun’s bellowing screams, it’s ultimately the moody, mid-tempo numbers that do the heavy lifting. “Written in Stone” is not only a fantastic closer, it’s crafted so competently it could well be remembered as fondly as “Broken”. It’s a combination of full band instrumentation and acoustic guitar, chocked full of punchy melodies and a well-executed vocal performance that hears Shaun lamenting “It’s like it’s written in stone” for the closing seconds of the album. While the mournful and emotive offerings of “Liar”, “Failure” and “Can’t Go Wrong” deliver an excellent balance of mood-building and heavy-soft dynamics. I have to admit, I’m in awe by how Seether have actually met the expectations of my pipe dream. It’s not a perfect album (“Pride Before the Fall” is quite forgettable, bar the excellent interlude), but it’s a gargantuan leap in quality from anything prior to this. Where all their previous efforts failed to maintain a firm vision, Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum is entirely focused on its goals. At nearly an hour in length, this LP’s run time actually feels justified for once, and for the first time, actually offers all of the band’s best qualities in abundance and on one album.


FORMAT//EDITIONS:
CD//DIGITAL//VINYL//BUNDLES

UNBOXING VIDEO
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdSSM5qIF88

SPECIAL EDITION BONUSES:
N/A

ALBUM STREAM//PURCHASE:
https://seether.limitedrun.com/



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user ratings (82)
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
August 28th 2020


16632 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is definitely their best album to date imo

Digging: HEALTH - DISCO4 :: Part I

SowingSeason
Moderator
August 28th 2020


36098 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Oh wow was not expecting this. Seether has always been alright but I'll have to check this out sooner rather than later. Perhaps this is 2020's answer to Slipknot's revival.

Digging: Sam Amidon - Sam Amidon

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
August 28th 2020


16632 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

neither was i sow haha haven't rated an album of theirs this high since disclaimer

Squizzy
August 28th 2020


8 Comments


I agree with all of this, especially the comment on the slower jams. Something about Seether's slower songs have always hit me in a different (but good) way, and the ones on display here continue that trend. Good review, also.

ian b
August 28th 2020


964 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

believe the song is “Words as Weapons” but other than that great review, i'm actually really intrigued to listen to this. felt like these guys were always a step or two forward in their realm

Digging: Touche Amore - Lament

tyman128
August 28th 2020


2229 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Love the review, it has me really hyped to check this out now considering I'm a pretty big fan of Seether's previous stuff.

cor22222
August 28th 2020


332 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I tottaly agree, this is their technically the best album to date, but I'm all over the place with Poison the Parish

Digging: Molassess - Through the Hollow

Toondude10
August 28th 2020


14298 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is definitely their best album to date imo [2]



though I find it really funny and kinda lazy how both openers of their last albums have the same rhythm and similar opening riffs.

Moshin
August 28th 2020


5 Comments


I'm not a big fan of this genre in general, and I know Seether gets a lot of flack (most of it justified) but I'm listening to this now and I really quite like it. I enjoy parts of their earlier albums.

Something about this is slightly different. Maybe Simon touched on it in the review. Might be the vocals. Riffs and songwriting are all good too.

Sort of tired of the perpetual pile-on that this genre and these bands get, even if most of them are as cookie cutter as it comes that goes for many/most subgenres. And I say that as someone who isn't a big fan, generally. It just seems excessive.

iswimfast
August 28th 2020


1504 Comments


nice, dangerous is a tune

Alondite
August 28th 2020


354 Comments


Actually just heard Dangerous on the radio today and was surprised how not shit it was. I'll have to add this to the long list of records I still need to listen to...

butt.
August 28th 2020


8006 Comments


people still listen to this shit stain band? what the ass? is this actually decent? do I have to listen to this now?

Digging: KEN mode - Loved

butt.
August 28th 2020


8006 Comments


god crap it

Lord(e)Po)))ts
August 29th 2020


60685 Comments


the disconnect between this album art/title and the band itself is hilarious

Digging: Oklou - Galore

naughtcturnal
August 29th 2020


1623 Comments


Always bunched Seether with all the Creeds and Puddle of Mudd and Nickelbacks. U just sparked my interest

Digging: Crippled Black Phoenix - Ellengaest

Toondude10
August 29th 2020


14298 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Eeeh, they've generally been better than most butt rock bands out there but at the same time they've been a band that always just...existed. Like I always kept forgetting that they were a thing.

Emim
August 29th 2020


29055 Comments


It didn't help that their big hit was Fake It. Broken with Amy Lee is a jam though, as is their cover of Careless Whisper.

Ninjahague
August 29th 2020


1750 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

butt rock is just generally forgettable but seether has always stood out above the rest

Toondude10
August 29th 2020


14298 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

eeeh, Seether were always forgettable until Words As Weapons came out. It was the first single from them that I genuinely cared about, even if it came from another forgettable record.

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
August 29th 2020


16632 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i only found out careless whisper was a thing a month or so ago, and it's brilliant. this comes from a hardcore george michael fan, but i think seether nailed their version of it.



also think you're a touch harsh there toon haha. totally agree they have a LOT of bland songs, but when they get it right they're a great band. took seven albums but i think they finally got the recipe right here



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