Very few Brits have even heard of Seether, let alone are they aware that the predominantly South African quartet saw their debut record, Disclaimer, go Gold not once but twice in the US (albeit with the help of a well timed re-release). Even the more astute of British rock fans would be hard pressed to recall any of the band’s material, save last year’s re-recording of the huge ballad Broken as a duet with vocalist Shaun Morgan’s girlfriend, Amy Lee (of Evanescence fame).
However, upon listening to Karma And Effect, what is immediately apparent about Seether is that their sound sits more comfortably than most in a well-carved pigeonhole. It is one founded on American (and extremely lucrative) hard rock principles – brooding, down-tuned verses entwined with gargantuan choruses that seek to give Jon Bon Jovi a run for his money and provide kick-ass, drive-time music for motorists across the States.
Because Of Me is a deceptively brutal opener, which had me believing I was in for a Stone Sour-styled release. However, with first single Remedy shaping up as a straight grunge tribute to Nirvana that so-called “true” fans of the late Mr Cobain will no doubt despise, Seether do have a tendency to display their influences just a little too openly.
Truth begins as a minor key ballad � la Nickelback, but takes a decidedly schizophrenic turn with the insertion of a heavy bridge and chorus before the acoustics reappear for the second verse – a little too disconnected for my liking. Still, by the fourth track Morgan’s vocals have made a very positive impact, despite the Puddle Of Mudd clone syndrome that he just can’t seem to shake.
Burrito witnesses a distinctly 3 Doors Down approach to the arena-sized tear-jerker, but fails to amount to much more than background listening. Given then tears apart the candlelit atmosphere set by its predecessor but, predictably, the tormented angst spat out during the verses atop muted guitars and thumping toms is swiftly released with yet another rock radio mid-section that pumps the melody right back into the veins.
And so the album continues with the likes of Never Leave visiting Creed country, though sadly lacking a solo that could even dwell in the shadows of Mark Tremonti’s majesty.
If critics were annoyed at Seether’s debut ringing out as a carbon copy of Staind with a hint more pop sensibility, then the band either didn’t hear their detractors’ cries or, more likely, they simply aren’t bothered. Seether will not gain any critical integrity through Karma And Effect. However, with an album full of catchy, mid-tempo slabs of rock that make perfect commercial sense, it would appear that the band have got the last laugh.