Although shaken with the recent departure of guitarist Troy McLawhorn in March, Holding Onto Strings Better Left To Fray is a diversely interesting album from the South Africa-based post-grunge alternative metal band Seether. It’s interesting because the album plays more mainstream than metal, with only some selections having any bite.
Ironically, the song with the most bite, “Fur Cue,” wasn’t written for the album. It was a soundtrack song written after the album was completed. When the song was dropped from the movie, the label immediately added it.
It’s a good thing they did. “Fur Cue” is the only song that could have prompted a review. It starts the album strong before the entire thing meanders back-and-forth between mainstream and wannabe hair rock.
Along with “Fur Cue,” “Country Song” and “Forsaken” add some listenability with grittier guitar work and more emotive vocals. But that’s the rub. You have to hunt and peck before dumping the rest.
Frontman Shaun Morgan has been in interviews saying that the album started as a 10-track LP and they couldn’t stop producing. They should have stopped because the balance of the 12-track album (16 tracks with the bonus material) is forgettable radio filler.
Some people might like that because the album highlights Morgan’s melodic vocal talent. However, producer Brendan O’Brien didn’t do Seether any favors while the band was fawning all over him (and continue to do so). Most people expected angst indicative of the producer behind AC/DC and Velvet Revolver.
Instead, songs like “Here And Now,” “Master of Disaster,” “Fade Out,” and “Roses” leave the impression that this was a Nickelback copycat album and not even a good one. The same can be said for the bonus tracks. It’s more sameness and that sameness isn’t so special.