Overall Score: 8/10 Stand Out Tracks: 7/10 Consistency: 8/10 Vocals: 8/10 Pros: Seether doing more of the same | Production value has improved Cons: Could have included another alternate take of Wasteland instead of the original version.
Post album EPs have a reputation of being written off from the outset. A collection of songs which didn’t make the base album thrown together and released with little effort or reason. Aiming to buck the trend, rock stalwarts SEETHER release their Wasteland: The Purgatory EP on July 30.
Three never before heard tracks are sandwiched between two versions of Wasteland. The first incarnation was ripped from SEETHER’s ninth studio album Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum. Little has changed between album and EP version which can be seen as a missed opportunity. That being said, Wasteland sees the post-grunge group sitting in the pocket they themselves made. Desolate guitar riffs combined with Shaun Morgan’s distinct gravelly vocals paints the picture of a depression we cannot escape.
With the stage set, we are treated to five tracks of quintessential SEETHER. What Would You Do is slathered in apathy. NIRVANA-inspired rippling guitars open a roller-coaster ride of self-loathing. “Gotta drink another drink until I can’t forget” taps into the morose side of humanity the only way Morgan’s lyrics can. As the ride continues, the inner saboteur rears its ugly head in the form of multiple vocal tracks designed to trigger auditory hallucinations.
The production team of Morgan and newest member Corey Lowery breathes new life into SEETHER. The overall soundscape of this EP, dogged by depression and hatred, is immense. While the music hasn’t undergone a massive transformation, the tweaks Lowery has brought to the table prove to be the secret sauce to SEETHER’s recipe.
An example of this comes with Will It Ever End. Languishing in another thick, bass heavy instrumental, SEETHER’s purgatory feels closer to Hell than its counterpart. Ghoulish vocal harmonies drag us into a quagmire we don’t want to leave. Immersed in lamenting, recent single Feast Or Famine takes us by surprise. Combining aggression with the macabre, low tuned sludge drowns us. “This room full of faces I abhor” is trademark Morgan in its bitterness. Feast Or Famine oozes a malignant charisma which begs the question why this wasn’t included in the album. Yet this going to be far from obscure B-Side material.
Closing the EP, the alternate version of Wasteland leaves us feeling as empty as the original should have. The combination of acoustic guitar and piano is nothing new, yet the sense of being hollowed feels much stronger. Morgan’s softer vocal allows the lyrics to breathe and resonate. “I need this crutch” pulls at the pit of our stomachs, leaving us vulnerable to the wispier solo. The shining moment comes with the introduction of the cello. While the song is elevated by this orchestral element, it leaves purgatory shattered.
Wasteland: The Purgatory EP doesn’t reinvent the wheel by any stretch. Yet SEETHER is a band which needs no reinvention. This is a band that knows what it’s about and is more than aware of how to make their sound timeless. The extra snapshot into the world of Si Vis Pacem Para Bellum may not have been necessary but these songs are essential listening.
Wasteland: The Purgatory EP is released on July 30 2021 via Concord.