Ten years ago, ‘Disclaimer II’ was released, and Seether instantly received rave reviews and critical acclaim. Their bleak lyrics and post-grunge sound grabbed the attention of teens across the world and fast tracked this South African trio to stardom. Their follow-up, ‘Karma And Effect’, was too well received, but since then Seether have been on the decline. Their new album, ‘Isolate And Medicate’, is the band’s latest attempt to pull their collective heads out of the oven, but sadly they’ve failed to do so.
Like all of their albums since ‘Karma And Effect’, here we have another record that’s trying to recreate the glory years that Seether are desperately clawing to get back. There’s no evidence of progression or innovation on ‘Isolate And Medicate’, instead there are just ten angsty, post-grunge anthems all consisting of predictable riffs and depressing lyrics. Take ‘Nobody Praying For Me’; it opens with a subdued riff before plodding along with overly melancholic lyrics, like “I’m a whisper lost upon wind / I’m the ember that’ll burn you down”, and climaxing with an intensely bland chorus.
‘Isolate And Medicate’ is boring. Plain and simple. But, the thing is, it shouldn’t be. Seether are more than capable of making a fantastic record and are very talented musicians, but they’re perpetually stuck on auto-pilot and have been recycling and rehashing their previous work since ‘Finding Beauty In Negative Spaces’.
It’s not that the songs are bad, far from it in fac,t as all members truly excel in their fields and Shaun Morgan‘s vocals, both soft and rough, are forever improving. The issue is that the songs are predictable and all variants of Seether‘s limited sound have all been done to death album after album. ‘Crash’ just sounds like ‘Gift’, ‘Nobody Praying For Me’ sounds like ‘Driven Under’, and ‘See You At The Bottom’ is far too similar to ‘Gasoline’. Unlike Staind‘s 2011 self-titled release that saw a much needed return to their heavier roots, ‘Isolate And Medicate’ isn’t a return to anything because they haven’t progressed in any direction.
While there are some heavy cuts on here that really bare their fangs, like ‘My Disaster’ and ‘Suffer It All’, there’s forever the nagging sense of “I’ve heard this before” that lingers like the bad taste of a hangover and diminishes the impact of the song. If you’re happy with the Seether blueprint, you’ll be happy to know this is surprise free, but if you’re expecting something new and original, this release isn’t your answer. Seether certainly have to potential to make something amazing, so let’s hope that next time they do.
Written by Andy Roberts