Review Summary: This Is How a dying genre should be revived.
Music has always been a fine art to me. Ever since I was an obnoxious child, I always held my music in high regards over other types of music. Typically pop punk, progressive, alternative, and some classic rock. It was not until I hit the age of around fourteen where I was influenced by bands like Senses Fail and Silverstein to take a listen to the genre known as Post Hardcore. The reason the genre is post, is due to the long term emptiness that is the hardcore genre. Today, there are not many bands left that wish to imply these sounds to their music, and instead optioning for more of a pop inspired sound to play it safe. Silverstein however, is the last of what I would call a dying breed. This is how the Wind Shifts, is a watermark in creativity, sound, and writing bundled into what I believe is their best release since Discovering the Waterfront.
The album kicks off with the first single released by the band, Stand amid the Roar. The song is exceptionally well at introducing newcomers to the genre and is a good note. The screams that lead vocalist Shane Told introduces in this opener are just fantastic. It is a huge step up from the once whiny and repetitive vocals found on their earlier albums such as When Broken is Easily Fixed. However the clean vocals in the song hurt it from being a classic song in my opinion. Another huge difference that you may pick out if you’re a Silverstein fan is the guitar work. The long term guitarist Neil Boshart left the band prior to the making of the album and has been replaced by Paul Marc Rousseau. The riff work provided by Paul is just outstanding. Every note plucked off of the strings of his notes is just marvelous. However, he provides some excellent vocal work on the song Arrivals which may be one of my guilty pleasures of the album. The second single, Massachusetts, does everything the first single did, and fixes what was wrong. The drumming is something to be noted on this song, as well as all the songs to follow. Paul Koehler is an awesome drummer; he keeps up with beats that are unlike any punk bands that will follow. The song also improves upon the problem with the clean vocals that are found in Stand amid the Roar.
Hide Your Secrets has always been an underrated song for me. The song starts off soft and is gradually the pop punk song of the album. I enjoy most of the lyrics of the song, such as “Can I save you? Will it make me feel like I’m in Heaven?” are just breathtaking. However the song has some negatives such as the whiny “hate you” lyrics that most other mediocre bands include in their songs.
While most songs on the first half of the album are really well played, including the interlude This is How nothing really hit me as awe inspiring. Then comes In a Place of Solace, and it hits you in the face like a brick. The song starts off with an experimental atmosphere to it until the guitar strings strum in. Then Shane’s hollow screaming flows in and makes your blood red hot, “This casket! Opened up!” I was drawn in for the next couple of minutes. After the slower part ends the song picks up into a drum roll that kept me on the edge of my seat. The crashes of the cymbals followed by the mixed baselines are there to show outstanding musicianship. When the song ends, there’s nothing to do but sit there, wide mouthed, and press the replay button.
It’s here I note that the album’s second half goes a bit downhill from here, not as fantastic as the first half but still really good. I found something a bit odd though while listening to The Wind Shifts. The song is about the same length as This Is How and I realized the vocals cut at the times there were vocals for the other song. I researched this and found that you need to play these two songs together to fully embrace the song. I found this very creative and I kind of had a nice laugh afterwards following the listen since the song was a clever little Easter egg.
The album ends on the song Departures, it wasn’t the perfect ending I was hoping for but it did supply an impressive ending to the album with the cliffhanger towards the middle of the song. “You’re killing me kid.” I should also note that this song uses a lot of effects that would be found in a post rock song. Such as the swooshes at the beginning as well as the non-instrumental sounds.
This Is How the Wind Shifts is overall a great revival of a slowly dying genre, providing a breath of fresh air from today’s pop punk groups that aspire to end the hardcore parade. This album could easily be overturned by some due to the assumption that it is their seventh album, and that it’s just the same as the others, but the album pushes the bar for expectations up higher than I thought it would. Songs such as Massachusetts, In a Place of Solace, California, and even Departures are just some of the showcases of talent this band can provide to the music world. Silverstein’s new work of art is there Magnum Opus to the music world of today, and should stand as a milestone in their careers for now.