Seether - Holding onto Strings Better Left to Fray

2011-08-01 11:51
Fans of rock group Seether might be surprised when they listen to Holding onto Strings Better Left to Fray – besides being pure rock bliss, it’s all done minus all the expected screaming and growling of lead singer Shaun Morgan. Well, for most part of the record. Bad thing?

Not at all! Although we’re used to Shaun growling and screaming on heavy Seether guitar riffs, he actually does a decent job singing and sounds vocally stronger on their new CD, than ever before.

He explains, "On this album I didn’t scream very much, because that’s not what I wanted to. For some of the songs, the sentiment behind the lyric wasn’t angry, therefore to sing it in an angry way didn’t make sense to me.

"The gritty stuff is easy to do, but it also feels really great to convey emotionally, through my voice, what I’m trying to say, instead of just being a one trick pony." Morgan also credits producer Brendan O' Brian (Rage Against the Machine, AC/DC, Pearl Jam) for him to go with clear vocals.


"I've wanted to sing clearer on albums before and producers have said, 'No, do that gritty thing that you're known for.' Brendan was the first guy who said, 'Dude, sing the way you want to sing.'"

The result is a collection of compelling vocal performances that conjure an appealing blend of two of Shaun’s main influences, Kurt Cobain and Tool’s Maynard James Keenan. It also makes the album an awesome listening experience. Lyrically, Shaun is upfront as he's ever been. "In our songs, I deal with a lot of personal issues and ghosts following me around. With each album, I tend to catch up a bit more on these ghosts and get rid of them.

"But this time around, it's all about freedom and just letting go. I'm now dealing with issues that I've been carrying with me for a long time, and understanding that those are detrimental to me and those around me. Once you indentify something that’s toxic in your life, you have to ask why you're perpetuating it: clutching at a situation that's ultimately going to end up in heartbreak and tears.

"It's history, you need to let if go. Once you do that, it's such a weight off your chest. It sounds a little bit like a hippie psychology, but if you focus on thinking positive things, then good things will start showing themselves to you."


Holding onto Strings Better Left to Fray is filled with gems that will makes you just want to jump up, play air guitar, pump your fist in the air and sing and growl (yes, at least there is some screaming and growling left).

The band branches out stylistically on the CDs first single, "Country Song", which blends a funky country guitar hook with the band’s signature searing guitar work.

Their latest single, the rock anthem "Tonight", almost didn’t make the cut for the CD. Shaun says, "I hadn't even shown it to the band yet, but one morning I woke up before dawn, in a really good mood, and completely changed the lyrics to positive lyrics. It just started coming together. Later that day in the studio, I asked producer Brendan to check it out. We only had two days left in the studio, but he said, 'We’ve got to record that song right now.' I think it captures and summarises the hopeful sentiment of the album."

Emile Butler blogs regularly about music. Follow him here.


This diverse set of melodic hard rock proves to be a solid entry in the band's catalog. - by Chad Grischow, IGN

It isn’t pretty, but if any track on here deserves some credit, "Country Song" just might be different enough to divert attention away from the train wreck that is Seether's fifth LP.  - SowingSeason, Sputnikmusic

Compelling songs without all the expected screaming and growling.

Werner Lübbe 2011/08/02 11:05 AM
What a rubbish band! Can anyone say Nirvana rip-off... These guys should just stop doing whatever they are doing! Biggest plagiarism band of all time goes to... Seether! Bloody copy artists.
Sarky 2011/08/02 11:34 AM
Werner....Kurt is dead. Yes he was awesome but show must go on. Seether's music is very good and the lyrics is always well written. By saying Seether must stop making music is like saying the Foo Fighters should also stop making grunge music and do reggae instead. Learn to appreciate good music and let go of the past.
Marc 2011/08/02 1:05 PM
Stop being ugly Werner. I am sure you would like Seether if they sounded more like lady gaga or britney spears, but alas not. Can't bring myself to use capital letters for them two tho.
Ryan 2011/08/02 1:44 PM
Hey koekemoer! Don’t you have some ass-waxing to attend too? I can see it now; You standing there with your stick in you’re hand, smiling to the mirror singing; born to be wiiiiiihild! Seether het nog altyd re-rock hoor :p
Grim 2011/08/02 1:51 PM
Such a poor album from them. They sold out. Very disappointing.
TheKnowItAll 2011/08/02 2:07 PM
Dare i say it? Seether is a better band than Nirvana. One of our better music exports in many years, and they get zero to little recognition at the SAMAs
Bee 2011/08/02 2:26 PM
LOL! Nirvana is great. Only retards like you would compare Nirvana with anyone. Without screaming and growling??? I never heard growling. Oh wait, you pathetic pop and rave lovers know nothing about metal. And no, Seether is NOT metal. YOu say screaming and growling like it's a bad thing. It's better than your crap that is all fake and computerised.
RobbedZombie 2011/08/02 3:26 PM
@Werner Lubbe: You are a dingle berry chewing, toe cheese eating, ball hair sniffing, donkey impregnating, ass juice drinking, abortion survivor. Now go and be pathetic somewhere else.
Justin 2011/08/03 11:10 AM
There are two kinds of music critics – those who like the band and those who don’t. And strangely enough, those who like rock and metal bands view commercial success as “selling out”. So they are making money. So they are commercially successful. Why is this a bad thing? This album demonstrates that Shaun, most notably in his personal life, is maturing (can’t stay angry forever and it is reflected in his writing and even singing approach. The band too are developing and expanding their skills. The guitar work on Country Song is reminiscent of The John Butler Trio, who happens to be an ARIA winner (Australian music awards) having beaten Jet for the honours. Why compare with Nirvana? I liked this album – it appeals to the optimist in me. Master of Disaster is “rougher” and it ticks ass. If you can bring yourself to be open-minded, give this album a listen and prepare to be impressed.
tha mix 2011/08/04 11:19 AM
I agree,i was surprised and pleased,a mix of old and new,you need to be open minded and known music to appreciate what they have done with this album
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