Review Summary: Silverstein has indeed done it again.
There is not a single doubt in my mind that Silverstein is a consistent band. Throughout most of the last decade we have seen Silverstein release album after album, rarely deviating in sound. 2004 saw Silverstein introduce themselves to the world with an accessible, if not clichéd debut. As the years progressed there was always a monumental sense of hope that Silverstein themselves would progress album to album. But what has been made clear with their 2013 release This Is How The Wind Shifts
is the fact that Silverstein will forevermore forgo progression, instead settling on their own watered-down version of post-hardcore.
The album itself starts off promising enough, as Stand Amid the Roar
is Silverstein at their best. With aggressive intro vocals and moderately catchy guitar work, this album opener will stand as a bright light in an album muddled by clichés and lack of inspiration. But this is not saying that Stand Amidst The Roar is perfect by any measure, as the harsh vocals grate on overtop a riff that doesn’t deserve to be repeated three or four times. As the album continues it is apparent that the short lived joy felt while listening to the album opener was a mere delusion, with the second track being nearly identical. On Brave Mountains We Conquer
, opens with semi-harsh vocals transitioning to ‘sailing’ cleans and traditional song structures. Lyrically we are meant to take lines such as I never thought you would leave me here. A jaded mess full of hate and fear. I'm playing the victim but I only have myself to blame. I'll rename, restart this game
or You've taken everything and left these broken wings. So here, I lay...
seriously, the former being repeated 3 times.
It seems nearly every song can be divided into two different camps, songs that ‘start off with a bang’ and songs that start off slowly and attempt to build to an emotional apex. Aside from the three minute long interludes, there is only one song that finds itself outside of these two pigeon-holed song-structures. In a Place of Solace is a song that exacerbates my disdain for this album. A relatively short experimental track,In a Place of Solace
shows listeners the type of music that Silverstein is capable of, and should be making at this stage in their career. While this track is cause for hope, it is simultaneously immensely frustrating, further proving the point that Silverstein is capable of music pushing the boundaries much more than they have created.
But, as in life, when there is a glimmer of hope, it is typically crushed as quickly as possible. Pertaining to this album In Silent Sails We Drown
acts as a reminder that all good things must end. With one of the most ill-advised breakdowns in the history of the band, this track is exactly what we have heard the last 8 tracks and it has truly become tiresome. It seems that vocalist Shane Told, while having more than adequate clean vocals, lacks the power and aggression to ‘pull off’ the harsh vocals present on these 14 tracks.
With their 2013 release, Silverstein refuses to break free from the mold they have created for themselves, instead opting to release a record akin to countless records released from faceless bands. More often than not when they do try to progress, such as the three tracks less than three minutes, they come off as tacky and ultimately uninspired. While there are positive aspects sprinkled in, they are few and far between, causing the seventh release of these post-hardcore vets to come up short in almost every sense of the word.