Sound — 5
Seether's post grunge sound is somewhat bemusing in the midst of emo's sustained popularity. It is therefore necessary to commend the South Africans for sticking inexorably to their guns and avoiding a genre change. Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces begins on a placid but tense note with Welgemoed's crooned vocals being complemented by a smoothly picked guitar section, before the rhythm section kicks in. It seems a peculiar way to start an album, almost with a nostalgic, reflective nature; soothing, yes, but innovative? The plaudits have to be awarded to Seether for their single Fake It. The band offers their take on a swing feel; the rhythm section is particularly potent in this area. If Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces sells a million albums on the back of this single, it wouldn't be surprising. In a negative light, the sound seems to wear thin on tracks such as Breakdown. The guitar sounds processed and although I can't be sure if Seether used Pro-Tools on this album, the sound is very digitalised. There's no spontaneity or rough edge that can be heard on most great rock records. Although FMLYHM seems to be passionate at face value, I feel that Seether is recycling old Nirvana sounds, and adding them to Nickelback's radio friendly rock. It's driving music. Everything sounds better when you're driving because the engine noise distracts the listener.
Lyrics — 7
Seether is very standard and formulaic lyrically. Whether or not Welgemoed's delivery is pleasing to the ear is a different story altogether. The delivery of the vocals is lacking in conviction and this doesn't seem to be a very 'live' record. This sounds like a typical American alt. Rock record of modern music. They're South African, one would hope for these guys to offer a sonically attention-grabbing and diverse album. Furthermore, the lyrical topic of No Jesus Christ is somewhat I'll conceived, unwarranted and poorly written. The incredible idiocy of the repeated line, No Jesus Christ truly exhibits an ignorance seen only in those who don't know what they believe in so choose to criticise the beliefs of others. Unlike the Philosophers of the Age of Enlightenment, Seether offers no alternative to Religion. Of course, I could be missing the point, but the song just seems to be in poor taste. Perhaps it was written to convey that God allows for awful things to happen and shouldn't (Family loss since Welgemoed's brother passed away prior to the album's release). In any case, the song is not what best represents this album. However, Seether redeem themselves in what I perceive to be an attack on the increasing tendency to go under the knife for cosmetic purposes on Fallen: They got injections for the facial lines, break out the scalpel keep the nose defined. In the spirit of rhyme, this is almost faultless in it's ingenuity. Seether is very hit and miss, but I feel that it is not the lyrics that are the problem, but the conviction on certain songs. Of course, the death of Welgemoed's brother delayed the album and sources seem to agree that some songs were written in honour of him. It is an honest record, but perhaps the more honest songs are those, which were written after this cruel loss.
Overall Impression — 6
Seether's fifth album should prove to be satisfactory to the band's existing audience, but may not attract new listeners. The rhythm section is far more spontaneous than many may be willing to admit, but the guitar tone is generic and typical of the genre. Typically, the bass and the drums give the songs a great sense of groove and fluidity, almost subsidising the great cost at which the guitar were recorded. The standout tracks include Like Suicide, Fake It and 6 Gun Quota. Seether isn't innovative, but for a long drive in the morning traffic and congestion, it's a great record.