As any musician will tell you, writing a great song is not always easy. It takes sweat, turmoil, and often times a simultaneous amount of invigorating and draining energy. Consequently, music fans know that writing a great album from start to finish is a terribly challenging task. Therefore, when we find that rare, well-rounded gem, a record we can confidently press play and walk away from, we eagerly welcome the journey it’s prepared to take us on. Not only does ‘Poison the Parish,’ the seventh studio album from rock phenom Seether, excel from start to finish, but it actually speaks to the frustrations of music fans living in a world where sound bytes are the new gurus, talentless culture vultures are the new gladiators, and the gods are chosen by the number of Instagram followers on any given Sunday. In fact, the name ‘Poison the Parish’ is itself a nod to hierarchy of poisons that have polluted our society since the dawn of civilized man. Vocalist Shaun Morgan explains: “It hearkens back to the days of clergy shaping a society as voices of authority; now we’ve got these people glorifying soulless lack of talent. They’re preaching this gospel that you can be famous. They aren’t saying ‘Hey go out there and write a book, invent something…it’s all about getting the angles right, to create this illusion that your life is great.”
Seether’s commitment to truth-telling over the illusion of contentment is what makes ‘Poison the Parish’ stand out. The lyrics on songs such as “Against the Wall” and “Emotionless” will have your heart on a pendulum, swinging from feeling renewed by the former, to indescribably hollow by the latter in a way that only a handful of bands (such as Pearl Jam or Alice in Chains) are capable of making you feel. “Let You Down,” the new single off the album, is another example of this. This groove oriented song is brilliant and animalistic, in that animals act out of instinct, devoid of worries of the repercussions of embarrassment. Likewise, this song implies that as an artist it is your duty to tell the truth. It states that the truth is beauty, even when it’s ugly, because regardless of whether or not it’s something we’re trying to hide, the truth is what defines us. The band also proves they can be heavy as ever on this record, thanks to the chugging “Nothing Left,” and “Stroke the Fire,” the explosive opening track that resonates long after the album is finished.
In short, ‘Poison the Parish’ is one of the best releases of 2017 thus far. It’s dynamic, truthful, exciting, and well-rounded. In fact for me, it picks up where Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’ left off. It’s both fresh and clearly inspired by Seether’s musical inspiration, which is what will make it one of those records that will be just as good in 2027 as it is today. Because after all, the truth, like good music, is timeless.