South Africa isn't necessarily known as a hot bed of rock music talent but in recent times I'm discovering a whole scene out there in that neck of the woods.
Seether are perhaps one of the best known acts reaching out to wider commercial success, especially in the US. 'Isolate And Medicate' is studio album number seven containing ten new tracks simmering with their Metal credentials, or post-grunge if you want to be fancy with your labels.
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Once you've digested the inoffensive and streamlined style of bands like Nickelback, Hinder, Creed, Theory Of A Deadman and Shinedown to name but a few, it does get a little weary to work your way through another example of this radio-friendly hard rock style.
But nevertheless, processing the music here is what it's all about and despite it teasing with Metal moments without losing sight of hooks and a smooth presence, 'Isolate And Medicate' isn't going to inject anything too radical to the mix.
Teenager-induced self-pity anthem 'Nobody Praying For Me' pulls at the heart strings and will have testosterone-fuelled individuals thumping the air in agreement. 'Save Today' takes the listener to the end of the album on a whimper as the acoustically driven ballad follows a subtle melody line. Alice In Chains creep in to the framework of 'See You At The Bottom' and there's a section which really taps the pulse of tension and sheer expression.
A colourful falsetto approach in conjunction with a catchy riff combines to set 'Same Damn Life' on the route to becoming favourite for Single of the Week if such a thing is applicable.
The commercial appeal is more than prominent to say the least. Somebody or something has really upset these guys on 'My Disaster': "Don't let me down again; you're the key to my disaster", hollers Shaun Morgan in true defiance. 'Crash' then offers up some drama and carries the vibe of a dried dead leaf crumbling in the palm of your hand on a crisp windy afternoon.
An appraisal along the lines of 'Isolate And Medicate' treading safe territory without completely selling out is the best summary I can commit to. Throwing in some expletives doesn't make these guys any edgier or any more unique and I don't suspect they are thinking that way either.
There will always be a place in the rock music fraternity for this brand of hard rock and due to this reason alone, I can objectively share with those fans how this album will please and dutifully entertain. Regarding any crossover appeal or any innovative angles, alas it lacks in both principles.
See You At The Bottom
Same Damn Life
Words As Weapons
Suffer It All
Watch Me Drown
Nobody Praying For Me
Keep The Dogs At Bay