Charlize Theron, Sharlto Copley and Nelson Mandela. Probably the only 3 people of any real fame to come out of South Africa. Seether have spent this millennium trying to change that and their efforts are presented here on this double album in the shops now.
The first disc is a 15 track greatest hits collection that moves along chronologically from Disclaimer to Holding on to Strings Better Left to Fray, opening with “Fine Again”, which is probably the track that best represents everything Seether are, before moving on to the Nirvana-esque “Driven Under”.
Shaun Morgan is one of the unsung heroes of songwriting in that post-grunge, alt-rock, emo genre and this collection really does pick out some of his best work including the re-recorded ‘Broken’ with Amy Lee of Evanescence performing with him as a duet (the song was originally just Shaun all the way through).
If you have heard a few Seether tracks and thought they were OK, but never felt the urge to buy an album, this is a good one for your shelf with highlights like ‘Remedy’, ‘The Gift’, ‘Rise Above This’ and the smash hit ‘Country Song’. Also included on the compilation is the band’s cover of ‘Careless Whisper’, recorded as a joke when their record label requested a song for Valentine’s Day, but actually works quite well.
As the disc winds up with ‘No Resolution’ and ‘Here and Now’ you can’t help but notice that, unlike some other albums of this kind, there is no real dip in quality. Sometimes chronology leads to skipping the first 6 tracks (I’m looking at you Soundgarden) and sometimes whole albums are barely represented (can you imagine a MetallicA “Best Of” that featured more than one song from St. Anger?), but here the balance is perfect and the songs are great throughout.
Disc 2 is a collection of lesser heard tracks, opening with an excellent cover of Veruca Salt’s ‘Seether’, although it is worth noting I haven’t actually heard the original so I’ve just assumed they’ve done a good job. Obligatory Greatest Hits new tracks then come in the form of ‘Safe to Say I’ve Had Enough’ and ‘Weak’, with the former going down the quiet verse-loud chorus structure that the band do so well and sounds like it would work really well in the live arena. ‘Weak’ is an equally great opportunity for pumping a fist with thousands of other people in a field.
‘Out of My Way’ from the Freddy Vs Jason soundtrack (and Disclaimer 2) is probably the heaviest track on this whole album and one of my personal favourites, while ‘Hang On’ from the soundtrack to much loved super hero movie Daredevil is another underrated number from the band’s back catalogue.
After this we are treated to not one, but five demos. Five. Because that’s necessary. When will bands learn that unless there’s something drastically different between the demo and the finished article we aren’t interested in hearing them? Especially when they just sound like tracks that went through the whole recording process but just didn’t end up on the album.
The first of these – ‘Blister’ – is very dull, while ‘Innocence’ shows the Nirvana influence in all it’s plagiaristic glory. ‘Let Me Go’ sounds irritatingly like another Seether song, but things pick up against with the heavy groove of ‘No Shelter’. By the time album closer ‘Melodious’ is over it feels like this second disc is merely an attempt to actually get people to buy the album by promising so much more than a regular fan could get. However, most of this disc is below par which is a real shame as the first half of the album is top notch stuff and the two new tracks keep that quality going. If there is a 1 disc version out there I encourage you to get it if you own no other Seether releases, but if you are already a fan then you can probably make your own 20-something playlist and enjoy that a lot more.
The band have always just bubbled under their true potential in this country, which is a real shame as the list really should read Charlize Theron, Sharlto Copley, Nelson Mandela and Seether.