Silverstein: Discovering The Waterfront Review

The rugged post-hardcore style of Silverstein’s debut was a decent entry into the genre, but their iconic sophomore album Discovering The Waterfront redefines the band and their place amongst their screamo peers. From crisper unclean vocals to more developed and fine-tuned melody, lead singer Shane Told steps his game up in every facet to accompany smart guitar riffs, frantic drumming and an infectious amount of energy that straddles the line between being heavy and being overwhelming. And because of the band’s dexterity in fluidly transitioning between aggressively hardcore and likable harmony, Silverstein delivers a phenomenal second record that would have impressed even without its instantly quotable lyricism. Discovering The Waterfront is not the most profound album in all of rock music, but it’s certainly one of the defining (and in fans’ eyes, most endearing) works to ever grace the screamo genre.

Standout Tracks

Following a high-octane, vivacious leadoff track, “Smile In Your Sleep” keeps the tempo up but also offers a better look at the band’s intelligent songwriting and the powerful emotions behind it. For each brooding chorus characterized with Neil Boshart and Josh Bradford’s pensive guitar riffs, Told paints the scene set to Paul Koehler’s composed drumming. But as the tension builds and Told’s distrust grows, each chorus erupts into a dramatic burst of passion and desperation that shows Told renounce the liar he loves. Between the raw angst of the lyrics and its masterful composition, “Smile In Your Sleep” is an instant classic that embodies Discovering The Waterfront as a whole.

Showcasing their lyrical prowess, “Discovering The Waterfront” is without a doubt one of the finest song in Silverstein’s song library. A heartfelt ballad about moving on from heartbreak, this gem is made memorably by Told’s strenuous vocal performance conveying urgent emotion as Billy Hamilton’s contemplative bass fills each relaxing verse. The chorus lets the emotion pour forth as Told cries out, “I won’t forget you , I’m not gonna let you win / But I’m tired of lying, tired of fighting you and it’s not gonna change.”

While not quite as dynamic or emotional as some of Discovering The Waterfront‘s other offerings, “My Heroine” displays a skilled mix of heavier passions and more subtle melodies to create something uniquely engaging. The hardcore influence is feautured prominently here, but each lighter counterpart of clean vocals balances things nicely as a testament to Silverstein’s ability to include post-hardcore concepts without overpowering a song’s catchy nature or the audience.

The Verdict

When Broken Is Easily Fixed was a decent debut for what it was, but Discovering The Waterfront is Silverstein’s masterpiece. The studio production is better, the clean and unclean vocals are more refined and every buzzing guitar hook and heavy drum beat rings out with clarity and sentiment. But the band’s maturity and skill have progressed as well, as prolific songwriting and lyricism enhances the powerful emotions behind the music. Told impresses in his fluctuation between angry growls and endearing cooing, which allows him a broader range in setting the dramatic mood for each song. This raw intensity is expressed both through throaty screams and softer singing, but both are effective in conveying the intended swirl of feelings: desperation, sadness and yet, hope for the future. Fans of Hawthorne Heights, Alesana, Senses Fail, From First To Last, Underoath, Spitalfield, Story Of The Year, A Day To Remember and Stutterfly will be right at home with this instant classic, which is enough to propel Silverstein to the front of the screamo genre. Straddling the border between catchy and hardcore is a delicate tightrope act that is part of the joy of the post-hardcore genre, but Silverstein passes with flying colors with Discovering The Waterfront.

Final Score: 9.1/10

Rank: 2nd (six total albums)

Track List

  1. Your Sword Versus My Dagger
  2. Smile In Your Sleep
  3. The Ides Of March
  4. Fist Wrapped In Blood
  5. Discovering The Waterfront
  6. Defend You
  7. My Heroine
  8. Always And Never
  9. Already Dead
  10. Three Hours Back
  11. Call It Karma
  12. Rodeo Clown

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