Album Review: Seether – Holding Onto Strings Better Left to Fray

Released last year to critical acclaim in the US, Seether’s fifth full-length album ‘Holding Onto Strings Better Left to Fray’ debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 and topped the rock charts. Now, almost a year on, the band are planning to break into the UK market with a exclusive physical edition as they perform their first UK shows in three years supporting 3 Doors Down.

The standard album (the first twelve tracks) offers little in the way of originality of what we expect from other hard rock/post-grunge bands but that certainly doesn’t mean that it is a bad album. Seether are not going up and beyond what they have done in the past, they are fine tuning what they have in order to make their sound stronger on each record and as they do so, they are working their way towards a timeless hard rock album.

The intense guitar riffs and thick bass lines of ‘Fur Cue’ open the album as Shaun Morgan showcases the power in his vocals. We’re then taken on an emotional rollercoaster as the album presents us the laid back and smooth ‘Here And Now’ and the stunning ballad in ‘Pass Slowly’ before we move onto the thick and gritty ‘Fade Out’ and ‘Down.’ We find classic Seether in ‘Desire For Need’ as we come to the closing of the standard album. ‘Tonight’ gives fans an upbeat groove to get up and move to as ‘Roses’ explores the darker side of the band.

‘Country Song’ was the album’s first single and where the band decided to try something new. The mix of hard rock with a country twang is an interesting one to say the least but they pull it off. What will disappoint a lot of people is that they went back to their trusted formula after creating ‘Country Song.’ The fact they attempted something different had me, and I would imagine others, excited about an album that would not follow the normal hard rock layout, but sadly they returned to their trusted formula.

‘Dead Seeds,’ ‘Yeah,’ ‘Nobody’ and ‘Effigy’ make up the deluxe edition of the album. ‘Dead Seeds’ and ‘Effigy’ in my view should have been on the standard album. There are a few weak moments when Seether toned it down and although I don’t believe the album ultimately suffers, ‘Dead Seeds’ and ‘Effigy’ would have been smarter choices as they are stronger songs.

The final three songs are the exclusive UK tracks and they are remixes of ‘No Resolution,’ ‘Roses’ and ‘Country Song.’ There is not much I can say about these tracks other than they are truly awful. Dubstep fans may find something that they will enjoy here but to present these three remixes to hard rock listeners is one of the worst decisions they could have made.

Minus the final three songs which offer nothing, Seether have put together a good album. ‘Holding Onto Strings Better Left to Fray’ presents their strongest set of songs yet as Shaun continues to improve his song writing ability. Shaun’s powerful emotional vocals combined with the efforts of Dale Stewart, John Humphrey and the now departed Troy McLawhorn showcase a band constantly improving and looking to fine tune what they are doing. I would say that it would be nice to see them branch out and take some more risks with songs like ‘Country Song’ but their current methods work, they are selling albums and topping the rock charts and coming in at number two on the Billboard 200 so why mess with it. It may not be long until they do indeed release that timeless hard rock album.

Album rating – 8

As part of the UK exclusive edition, the band also packaged a special DVD. The international deluxe edition of the album was packaged with a DVD which included the ‘Country Song’ music video as well as a feature on the making of the album. The UK edition features the band performing a range of songs acoustically and plugged in.

The acoustic session DVD features the following track listing:

1. Country Song (from Holding Onto Strings Better Left to Fray)
2. Fine Again (from Disclaimer II)
3. Fake It (from Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces)
4. Broken (from Disclaimer)
5. Rise Above This (from Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces)

This is a basic session, just the band, their guitars and a wooden box. Each video highlights how well the bands material can be stripped back to the bare bones and again it works very well. If you have ever listened to their acoustic album ‘One Cold Night’ then you already know how strong their material is unplugged.

The remainder of the DVD features plugged-in performances of ‘Country Song’ and ‘Remedy’ filmed by I Heart Radio. Sometimes producers can over-produce songs and when you see them performed without all of the bells and whistles, just a raw performance, you appreciate the songs even more like in this case.


About ??

Michael is the owner and creator of EspyRock. He is your general all round geek; sports fan; TV show fanatic. You can find him sharing his thoughts on his personal Twitter account. Contact Michael on Twitter or via Email.

No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!