After whispers in the earlier part of the year about exactly what Seether mastermind Shaun Morgan was going to do now he had complete control of his own music, Poison the Parish was released and it was clear ‘heavy’ was on the agenda. Being the first album produced by the frontman himself, the first to feature Seether’s new logo on the cover and the first to be recorded with the instruments they use live, it understandably piqued an interest in the rock and metal community. According to Shaun, this time he really had a vision; “I wanted to get it right” he said. “When you have something in your head…to make someone understand that is quite difficult so the only way to really make it happen is to be the one trying to make that sound come out of the speakers”… and boy, did he!
The album kicks off with “Stoke the Fire”. An anguish-fuelled track that’s heavy on dark, flowing riffs backed up with sharp drum hits and crashing cymbals – reinforced by the power of that old-school Seether bass. Oddly, this is followed by what can only be described as a brief period of angry yet smiling carnival music. This, thankfully, swiftly drops into the same bouncy melody and a much more metal-appropriate manner in “Betray and Degrade”.
“Count Me Out” makes a strong argument for best track with it’s unapologetic presence and variation in clarity. It’s like someone’s calmly telling you what the problem is but they’re getting increasingly yet sporadically angrier to get their point across. This companioned with guitars in all the wrong places and strepsils-worthy shouting really makes this track something to be admired.
Whilst the album has a heavier-than-usual, gritty focus, Seether have continued to prove their ability with slower, quieter tracks, too. “Sell My Soul” is a prime example of this, and although it could be considered a tad dull compared to the rest of the album, it’s still full of that can’t-kill-me pride that Seether are known for and proves to be a motivating track, one that’s almost empowering on a rough day.
Newer Seether fans might be in for a bit of a shock as Poison The Parish is certainly heavier than the vast majority of their recent output, but fans of their older sound will be in for a very pleasant surprise indeed. Poison the Parish finds Seether returning to their roots as a rock band. It has a real rawness that makes you feel like your insides are being squeezed and is a perfectly choreographed, yet beautifully chaotic mess throughout. Feedback never sounded so good!
Although it’s often difficult to decipher what, exactly, Seether are angry about – whatever it is, we’re now angry about it too! 9/10