Blame Zeus – Seethe Review

Blame Zeus - Seethe 01Should we give alternative metal another chance? The nebulous umbrella term that could be defined as any mixture of metal and popular contemporary music has never made many friends among die-hard metalheads, with the spawning of nu-metal considered the nadir of the scene at large. But if we disregard the stains of the posturing rap machismo, there’s nothing inherently bad about alternative metal. Generally speaking, it’s often got muscly, infectious riffs, vocal hooks for days, and a bass presence other genres could learn from. It’s the opposite of trve and kvlt, but elitism had always been a dead end. The only thing that often irritates me greatly about alternative metal is the high levels of either emo or tough-guy bluster. So what if we replace that with a fantastic set of bronzed female vocals and a subtle dusting of prog? That’s when we get Blame Zeus.

I’ve pretty much given away what to expect of Blame Zeus1 in the intro paragraph. Therefore, the thick, chuggy riffs that kick off opener “How to Successfully Implode” won’t come as a surprise. The vocals will, however, as no short description will do justice to Sandra Oliveira’s voice. Her performance is the standout of the album; rock-solid technical skill, passionate delivery and effortlessly badass with her smooth, powerful contralto. The seductively simple arrangements certainly help a great deal as well, especially on the first couple of tracks. The opener’s chorus is one big whirling hook, and follow-up “Déjà Vu” has an addictive poppiness that reminds of the better The Great Discord tracks.

The initial simplicity in writing is gradually embellished with touches of the progressive, first notable on the more restrained “Down to the Bones” which features Rui Duarte of RAMP, which relaxes into a more free-form composition towards the end. From here on, the band strikes a great balance between infectious hooks (the grim “Bloodstained Hands” a prime example, as well as hard-hitting single “No”) and more experimental territory (“White,” “Into the Womb”). Sometimes the exploration hits an awkward spot, such as the weird toying with timing on closer “The Crown and the Gun,” but largely the band nails their tightrope act, and never more so than they do on the beautiful “The Warden.” The track opens up similar to Tool’s “Disposition” but bursts into a cascade of grief, anger, and farewell, Oliveira leading the charge with her affectionate vibrato.

Blame Zeus - Seethe 02

All of this is accomplished with excellent musicianship and not a trace of the usual alt-metal faux-bravado. The music is easily absorbed yet doesn’t make you crave something more substantial thanks to the dusting of prog. The drums deserve particular mention: vibrant and hard-hitting, they avoid the easy way out and bring an extra bit of depth. It makes up a little for the under serving of the bass in the mix, which is a damn shame, as I feel it could have brought an excellent additional layer to the table. Other than that, the production is largely serviceable, if a tad loud. I do think the band can still make strides there, but thankfully it stops well short of brickwalled.

I’ve made the case for pop-metal before. There’s merit in contrasting against the usual doom and gloom and superlative complexity of the day with bright and melodious music, and forgetting about whether something is ‘true’ enough, whatever that means. This ain’t the same thing, but it touches on some of the same subjects, considering pop and alternative have a similar bitter taste for most metalheads. But despite the easy, chuggy hooks and hard rock sound, I don’t think anyone will be embarrassed about spinning Seethe at home. The songwriting on here is sturdy and addictive, with the subtle prog embellishments raising it to the next level, and all the performances are solid, with Oliveira’s vocals the shining core that elevates the album further. Blame Zeus make alternative great again.

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Rockshots Records
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: November 8th, 2019

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  1. I have to say, I love that band name, especially considering Zeus usually was indeed to blame in most Greek myths.
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