Karma and Effect

Studio Album by released in 2005

Karma and Effect review

Seether played a style of heavy metal mostly associated with the post-grunge era of alternative music, complete with self-obsessed lyrics and a sound that mixed crunchy distortion with brooding texture. Hailing from South Africa, the group was discovered by Wind Up Records and instantly pushed to the moon by the label. Seether follows in the tough-yet-sensitive tradition of Staind, Nickelback, and other grunge-aping power ballad hitmakers. Seether second album, Karma And Effect has officially arrived, after being put off a bit too long. Around the time they probably should have released the follow-up to 2002's Disclaimer, they received some late-blooming success, thanks to a re-working of the track Broken, which featured Evanescence frontwoman (and Seether frontman Shaun Morgan's significant other) Amy Lee on background vocals. Instead of a new album, we got a remixed and repackaged version of Dislaimer, simply titled Disclaimer II. Sure, it featured some bonus tracks, but brand new material is what we all wanted, and finally, it has arrived.

Seether seem more than a little annoyed by their success, and as such, haven't altered their sound or style one bit, which unfortunately is a double-edged sword. Regardless, they must be commended for their efforts, as most hard-rock bands that receive success for showing a lighter side tend to soften up in time. That's just not the case here. The same group that made Disclaimer re-appears on this new album. All thirteen tracks on Karma And Effect sound like they were made just to please Seether's fanbase, and they definitely will. 3/4 of the album is made up of agressive, but infectious, rockers in the same vein as Gasoline or Needles. Sure, there is the catchy radio-fare of Remedy and I'm The One, but other songs, such as the album opener Because Of Me and Burrito will rip up your speakers. For fans of Driven Under and Fine Again, songs like The Gift, Never Leave, Tongue and Plastic Man are perfect successors and are destined to become classics. Diligent listeners will find a studio jam added as a bonus cut that shows a bit more depth to Seether and reps the band's South African roots as well with lyrics sung in Afrikaans.

Seether’s sophomore effort has been beset with its own pre-release woes. The original title of Catering to Cowards was ditched in favor of the less biting Karma And Effect, the cover art was altered, and perhaps most troubling to the vitriolic Morgan, he was asked not to swear on the recordings. Despite all of this, Karma And Effect lives up to Disclaimer and perhaps even betters it with a stronger, road-tested band in permanent drummer John Humphrey and the addition of second guitarist Pat Callahan. Lyrically, the lack of profanity hasn't dulled this butter knife at all. It's stuck in the same ambiguous and inwardly tortuous morass as Disclaimer. Karma And Effect doesn't widen the scope of post-grunge but stands up well as a standard-bearer for modern hard rock. Fans of the band would be hard pressed to not find something on here they like, and each of the thirteen tracks could easily be a hit, which is hard to pull off. If you liked Disclaimer and are hungry for more, Karma And Effect will satisfy your appetite.