South Africa is an underrated country as far as musical exports go, and post-grunge staples Seether are one such example. Having achieved recognition alongside other Wind-Up Records luminaries in the 2000s, Seether now find themselves eight albums in with Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum, their last one having been 2017’s Poison The Parish. In a recent interview, frontman Shaun Morgan described Si Vis as having been heavily influenced by Deftones and A Perfect Circle among other alternative bands, and one would have to be tragically unlistened to not hear the ToolTones hybrid at work on the opening track “Dead And Done”. The mid-paced grunger “Bruised And Blooded” treads closer to Tripod-era Alice In Chains and Jerry Cantrell’s Boggy Depot, while the Deftones side of things comes back in spades with “Wasteland”, a cut baring some resemblance to “Hexagram” off the 2003 Deftones album but with cleaner vocals.
“Dangerous” sees Morgan edge from Chino to Maynard again, the song saved from being outright pastiche by a heavy chorus and bridge with serious aughts vibes. “Liar” is truer to form for Seether, a straight-forward crunching dose of post-grunge reminiscent of the likes of Staind, 3 Doors Down and Seether themselves in earlier days. “Can’t Go Wrong” is a 3 minute and 47 second testament to the staying power of Nirvana’s trademark clean-heavy tradeoff that has made its way into countless alt-rock earworms ever since Nevermind dropped like a nuclear bomb in 1991. “Buried In The Sand” slows the pace down to an appropriately grungy groove, creating some pleasant radio fare in the process; “Let It Go” ensures things don’t get too slick by countering its ringing choruses with rough, raggedy chugging in the verses.
“Failure” channels ample amounts of ‘90s energy with a contemporary touch; one can hear bits of “My Song” by Jerry Cantrell and “Change” by Candlebox among other tunes with a trained ear. “Beg” is a drag-out slugger in the vein of “Forty Six & 2” and “Hey Man, Nice Shot” but heavier, “Drift Away” lives up to its name and floats far more; suspended in a beautiful sonic abyss. “Pride Before The Fall” is pure Seattle at its core, though it swerves towards Deftones later on with its screamed, pounding breakdown. “Written In Stone” rounds Si Vis out, its chill and somber tone marking it as the “Something In The Way” of the record if one must make an equation.
There are plenty of comparisons and parallels that can be made to Seether’s predecessors on Si Vis Pacem, Para Bellum, though the record obviously comes through with its own strength and voice in the end. The record is equal parts tasteful and ruthless, mixing angsty vigour with active rock sensibility to ensure Seether won’t be forgotten to the public any time soon. In short, it’s a proud feather for them to put in their cap.