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(2.5 Stars) Holding Onto Strings In Negative Spaces
on July 4, 2014
I've been a fan of Seether and have been following their work since their first single "Fine Again". Their debut album Disclaimer remains a classic and in my eyes their best work. However, for those who follow Seether you will understand what I am conveying by the title of my review. Seether's newest effort, Isolate and Medicate, is truly what my title stands for at the most part. The album starts off with "See You At the Bottom" which is only an average opener. For those of you who have heard the album already then listen to this track but then go ahead and pop in any of their previous albums and listen to those first tracks. The intro tracks like "Gasoline", "Because of Me", or "Fur Cue" gets your adrenaline pumping and eager to hear the rest of album. While a heavier track, "See You At the Bottom" did not give me that same feeling. It comes off as a b-side from their two previous albums Finding Beauty In Negative Spaces and Holding Onto Strings Better Left To Fray and a rather slow start in which I feel it could have been placed as a middle track. Next is "Same Damn Life" which sounds like an attempt to crossover to mainstream pop radio with its power pop verses. There is no doubt in my mind that it would be a contender as the second single of the album. However, the only part of the song I really enjoy are the instrumental sections after the second and final choruses that bring a 90s rock feel. The third track and first single (not counting the bonus track "Weak") is "Words As Weapons". On first listen like others I heard the song "Mad World" instantly in the verses. Aside from that I really enjoy the chorus and when Shaun's more aggressive vocals come into play. I find it to be a good choice as a first single as it is the best track out of the first half of the album. The fourth track "My Disaster" is a heavier track but I find it to once again sound more like a b-side of Negative Spaces and a rather dull chorus. It's nothing memorable. Next up is a ballad-like song called "Crash" which sounds like no other track Seether has done before. Instrumentally the song is interesting but aside from that it does not grab much interest to me.
We then head into what finally is the best part of the album with "Suffer it All". All I have to say is YES!! By far the heaviest track on the album and it would not fit out of place as an album track, not a b-side, from Disclaimer or Karma and Effect. It is very aggressive vocally as well as being heavy instrumentally. It is a true standout on the album. The seventh track "Watch Me Down" is kind of similar to "Same Damn Life" only a little less poppy and much better. Sounds like another single contender and not a bad choice. "Nobody Praying For Me" is most likely my second favorite as I find the whole song stands out. After three really good songs the album drops off with "Keep the Dogs At Bay". The main guitar instrumental sections sound like their own much more superior song "Burrito" from Karma and Effect only to come off as less heavy. Nothing on this track stands out to me whatsoever. The final track "Save Today" is the best slower song on the album but their weakest attempt to close album. A weak opener and a weak closer is not good.
Finally, I was excited to know that they were releasing a deluxe edition of the album as I found the bonus tracks on their previous album to be amongst some of the best on that album. However, this album is the exact opposite. "Turn Around" is a dull repetitive rehash of "My Disaster". Also, "Burn the World" has a chorus that is very similar to "Watch Me Drown" only slower. "Goodbye Tonight" is a forgettable pop song. Prior to listening to the album I found the addition of "Weak" to be a delight for those like myself who did not need to purchase their greatest hits album. However, after listening to how mediocre the majority of this album is I find it to be lazy to slap it on here.
All in all, I know everyone is entitled to their own opinions like myself with this review. But if anyone says this is their best work then I suggest you go back to your CD collection and pop in Disclaimer or Karma and Effect. In addition to this, I know some people were disappointed in their previous effort compared to their prior releases but I find Holding Onto Strings to be a much better album regardless of it being less heavy because it displayed a more creative side to Seether and the songs all sounded different from one another. As I stated before, for the most part Isolate and Medicate shows no step forward and the majority of the songs sound more like b-sides from their previous two albums or flat out not anything interesting. Aside from "Suffer it All", you will not find any songs in the vein of "Needles", "69 Tea", "Not the One", "Fallen", or the hit single "Remedy" that will get your blood flowing and rock out to. You also will find bland ballads that do not hold a candle to the likes of "Broken", "Walk Away From the Sun", "Here and Now", or "Never Leave". This album contains no memorable tracks such as "Fine Again", "Sympathetic", or "Rise Above This". If you want to hear new Seether then I recommend you save your money on this album as whole and download tracks 3, 6, 7, 8, and "Weak" if you haven't already. On the other hand, if you want the best of Seether then please purchase the excellent Disclaimer and/or Karma and Effect.