By Tim Fenster:
The secret to Seether's success is the hard rock band's force. Vocalist Shaun Morgan and company have produced rock hits ranging from post-breakup despair to raging, hateful accusations.
The South Africa-based trio's power was in full force at Buffalo Harbor on Thursday, July 12. The show was an emotional rollercoaster, alternating between monster heavy metal riffage and strikingly tragic ballads.
Early in the set the band blasted out an amped-up take of "Driven Under," an early hit that seems to be about contemplating suicide, or murder. Morgan closed the piece with a wall of guitar fuzz, and then launched into a stripped down take on "Broken," the group's highest charting single. Morgan let the audience sing the parts originally done by Amy Lee, who will visit the Harbor with her goth-rock band Evanescence on Sept. 2 for Edgefest.
After the harrowing ballad, drummer John Humphrey blasted out a pummeling drum solo; armed with a simple drum kit, Humphrey's banging sounded like rolling cannon-fire.
Morgan kept up the energy with the knuckle-dragging riffs of "Breakin'," a song that features lyrics so explicit they should not be mentioned in print.
The audience matched the band's energy with a small mosh pit, a sea of devil horns and dozens, perhaps hundreds of crowd-surfers. This reporter made the mistake of standing where those breathless, wild-eyed kids got let back into the crowd, after security eased them to the ground in front of the stage.
Shortly after "Breakin'," Morgan took the stage solo to play an extended version of the somber, I'm-afraid-I'll-hurt-you ballad, "The Gift."
Morgan didn't let the emotionally-striking nature of his ballads slow the set down. He kept the energy going with two cuts from the band's latest LP, Holding On To Strings Better Left To Fray, the artwork of which served as the backdrop for the band's show.
The first song, "Tonight," celebrated good feelings and fun nights out. The second, "Country Song" -- named for its uncharacteristically twangy riff -- seemed as a reproach, with Morgan crooning, "My ship is sinking but it's all good and I can go down / You got me thinking that the party's all over."
As fitting, Morgan closed the night with two of the band's biggest and heaviest hits. An extended version of the raging single "Fake It," showcased the raw ugly power of the simple, three-piece instrumentals. And as any concert-goer should have expected, Seether ended the night with "Remedy," a brutal song featuring a guitar riff that just screams power.
Rock purists might blast Seether as yet another cookie-cutter mainstream rock outfit, but Morgan's songwriting has earned him his prestigious place in music. It isn't easy to make music so brutally powerful.