Posts Tagged Silverstein

Silverstein: This Is How The Wind Shifts Review

Here’s the review for Silverstein’s sixth full-length album, “This Is How The Wind Shifts!” Like I’ve mentioned in a few posts already, this blog has been turned into a full website and I won’t be posting reviews here in the future. But if you want to read this review and over 120 other rock album reviews, head over to the new Diamond In The Rock site or click here to read the Silverstein review!



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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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Silverstein: Rescue Review

Most post-hardcore bands follow a pretty standard formula that counterbalances an emphasis on unclean vocals and heavy breakdowns with melodious singing and catchy choruses. This sometimes generic equation, while awesome and enjoyable to behold for the most part, can feel stale and repetitive if there’s little deviation or variety. The biggest reason Silverstein stands out among their post-hardcore peers is that unlike most screamo acts, they let the music speak for itself, relying primarily on Shane Told’s effervescent clean vocals while sprinkling in screams every now and then as a dramatic supplement to make big moments even bigger. With spiraling guitar riffs, up-tempo drumming and Told’s teemingly expressive clean vocals, Silverstein would already offer an impressive final package. But the addition of the screamed segments and a few well-crafted breakdowns lend to the intended sound, complementing the band’s sound rather than dominating it. Discovering The Waterfront, still the band’s most beloved album by fans, experimented with this agreeable formula for its first half before falling off with less-than-intriguing punk influences in its latter half. Although that endearing record is what put Silverstein on the map, Rescue perfects that sound, surpassing any of the band’s past work to convincingly take the title of their best all-around album.

Standout Tracks

Although the generally accessible and lighter “Forget Your Heart” is tailor-made to be a single, “Texas Mickey” is too damn impressive to not include as one of Rescue‘s standout tracks. Neil Boshart and Josh Bradford play off each other’s guitar riffs well, while the constant interplay between singing and screaming gives the song more complexity. This track also features a very nifty bridge as the guitars and Paul Koehler’s drums erupt on cue like gunfire to reinforce very welcome guest vocals from Anthony Raneri of Bayside, who commands his verses. The vocal counterpoint that follows between Raneri’s singing, Billy Hamilton’s screams and Told’s background harmonizing adds a sense of mastery and sophistication to this smart and fast-paced rocker.

The Artist” picks up the pace and intensity again with blazing guitar riffs, heavy drumming and more prominent screaming as both unclean vocalists alternate. The bridge of “Texas Mickey” would take be the most climactic if not for the incredibly dramatic and transcendent contained within “The Artist.” This song leans more toward Silverstein’s post-hardcore side, but the small doses of Told’s melodic vocals help balance things out, especially during the masterful bridge where he cries out as a light among the heavy flurry of activity that is the darkness.

Silverstein features more intelligent lyrics than most post-hardcore acts, but “Burning Hearts” raises the bar even higher as its colorful imagery and powerful songwriting paints a descriptive narrative about the nature of mankind while Told wonders, “I just can’t get a hold of why we always hurt the ones we love / Can burning hearts still keep us strong?”. Its upbeat pace and high level of energy almost disguise the glaring fact that there are no unclean vocals to be found here, but Told owns this single will enticing vocals set to the backdrop of frenetic drumming, guitar-chugging and more harmonizing background vocals.

The Verdict

Discovering The Waterfront will always be a classic and defining album for Silverstein, and it will likely remain a fan favorite for this band’s entire career, but Rescue is a superior overall record, consistent from start to finish in its appeal, energy and emotion. Silverstein nails the balance between post-hardcore angst, energetic passion and the more agreeable elements of clean vocals with this album. But they also master tempo fluctuations and the art of counterpoint; from the captivating and complex opener “Medication” to the dynamic and slow-paced closer “In Memory Of…,” many tracks see the pace rise and fall before a climactic finish of overlapping vocals singing/screaming their respective parts gives songs dexterity and poise. Rescue serves as an interesting stylistic mix of Discovering The Waterfront and A Shipwreck In The Sand while giving fans a glimpse of Silverstein at their artistic and compositional peak. Fans of Hawthorne Heights, Alesana, Senses Fail, Before Their Eyes, Blessthefall, We Came As Romans, Story Of The Year, Spitalfield and A Day To Remember will enjoy this more easily accessible brand of post-hardcore, but should also appreciate the hard-hitting breakdowns and stimulating bridges that make Rescue Silverstein’s best album to date.

Final Score: 9.3/10

Rank: 1st (six total albums)

Track List

  1. Medication
  2. Sacrifice
  3. Forget Your Heart
  4. Intervention
  5. Good Luck With Your Lives
  6. Texas Mickey
  7. The Artist
  8. Burning Hearts
  9. Darling Harbour
  10. Live To Kill
  11. Replace You
  12. In Memory Of…

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