It’s no secret that Seether front man Shaun Morgan avidly used Nirvana’s sound and approach to music as inspiration for the band’s first few albums including their third studio album, Finding Beauty in the Negative Spaces, release in 2007. The interpretation of Cobain’s use of music of expression and emotional release lead to the passionate and responsive album that debuted at number nine in Billboard 200 album charts. However, the relative success of the album came at a great expense to Morgan.
In the year before the album’s release, Morgan had lost a guitarist, became a target of humiliation as ex, Amy Lee, wrote the majority of Evanescence’s album The Open Door about him, including the hit single “Call Me When You’re Sober,” as well as spending time in rehab. However, despite the embarrassment and emotional turmoil that was thrust upon Morgan, the worst was yet to come. Prior to the album’s original release date in August 2007, Morgan lost his brother, Eugene Welgemoed, to suicide.
Finding Beauty in the Negative Spaces became an album for himself rather than for public exoneration. This is seen through songs clearly meant for the moments of his life that inspired the album such as “FMLYHM” and “Like Suicide” representing his past relationship with Amy Lee, as well as “Eyes of the Devil” expressing how hopeless and broken he has become, specifically through the loss of his brother, as he cries out “It kills me to watch this fade, and I realize it’s all charade, and every mistake I make is the same. I beseech you to let me drown. Will it please you to let me down? And no one can save me from the pain.… Jesus save me, I’m weak, Jesus save me from me.”
This album literally became about Morgan finding beauty in the negative spaces of his life. After enduring such an emotionally violent year, he took to music, just as Cobain had a decade before, and found a way to look up through the darkness surrounding him. Through this search for beauty, we are graced with the hopeful mantra of “Rise Above This.” Although the obvious sorrow still lingers through the loss of his brother—“Take the light, and darken everything around me. Call the clowns and listen closely, I’m lost without you. Call your name every day when I feel so helpless”—the over all tone of the song is one of determination as he exclaims there are “Forty-eight ways to say that I’m feelin’ helpless. I’ve falling down, falling down, but I’ll rise above this, rise above this, rise above this, rise above this doubt.”
For Morgan to still hold the tone of incredible sorrow while being relatively joyous as he expresses the importance of finding the beauty in life despite the horrors that will inevitably be thrown your way truly represents the message he wanted this album to stand for: to keep moving through the harder moments of life. Surly this message is one he would have wanted to share with his brother, however through the release of this album, there is certainty that he managed to help fans rise above the negative spaces in their own lives.
Review By: Deni Balak