Anyone who heard their debut album When Broken Is Easily Fixed
should know that Silverstein
is a lot more than a one trick pony. The record was packed with a variety of sounds, moods, and approaches in general. A year after the release and touring, enter 2005 and the sophomore record. It is absolutely necessary to say that many should respect this band, for the sole fact they that have so much drive and will power. Discovering The Waterfront
was released on August 16th; since than the band has come to my hometown three times; three different tours in less than a year of the album�s release. Say what you want about the music, but at least realize that this band has determination. With a tour schedule that hectic, just imagine what live music has done to their sound. In a mere year, the band has done so much more than just improved; they have developed as song writers and musicians leaving plenty to believe that Silverstein
is on a perfectly straight track approaching something truly special.
Do not misinterpret that last statement as this album is very special in my eyes. Its generally convincing nature plays a giant part in doing so, as at times this album is not a whole lot new. Of course there are moments where a different approach leads to something out of the ordinary, but as said before this album is far from genre defining. Think of it more as, the stereotypical band in the genre wishes they could write an album like this. Regardless of the sound, things are rock solid. The master behind the plan is vocalist Shane Told, as he has improved in just about every aspect possible. His singing is beautiful throughout the album as his voice has developed wonderfully over the past year. Screaming is used in perfect moderation throughout the album, which has also taken a positive turn. His screams sound much more defined and less like a balls out yell. Transitions sound perfect from singing to screaming, as he does not miss a beat or go flat. But we all know that superb vocals can be washed away by cheese ball lyrics. Thankfully that is not the case here, as they come off as meaningful and well thought out. Of course there are some little sections which rub off some clich�s, but as a whole the lyrics strong. The guitarists pick up where they left off, delivering proper riffs and catchy progressions. Guitar wise this is a very pleasing album especially within its genre. Let�s not forget about the bass, as it is heard throughout the duration of the album cutting through with some nice lines and even some occasional riffs. Drums do exactly what they need to; hold everything together. There is nothing out of the ordinary, yet nothing stupidly simple and by switching patterns frequently things never become tiresome. With improved vocals on both ends and the same solid instrumentals, the songs themselves are a wonderful listen.
The same variety of songs is present here as in the debut; heavy, soft and a mix of the two. There is the straight forward in your face songs that for the most part seem to be present during the first half of the album. The opener Your Sword Versus My Dagger
is a perfect introduction of the album. Beginning with a thundering riff, things do not slow down for a second. Right from the get goes the listener will notice Shane�s improved vocals. His singing is beautiful, his screaming is effective, and his transitions are absolutely nailed. The rhythm section stays solid throughout and during the bridge a catchy bass line comes out. Octave chords make up most of the guitar work save for a few little riffs perfectly sprinkled in. As the song comes to a close with the chorus, Shane�s scream marks an intense end to the opening song. The heavier portion of the record is also represented by the fourth track Fist Wrapped in Blood
. A nice mid-tempo riff with some high hat smacks builds up anticipation during the intro. The verse holds an intense state with the dual vocal pattern over as things blast into another catchy chorus. During the second verse things take a bit of a different turn, not getting soft, just quieter. The dual guitar harmonization riff works great in creating a different mood for the second verse. Things pick up once again during the bridge as Shane shows the terrific range he is capable of hitting. Another intense song is delivered and once more vocal improvement is extremely noticeable.
The two singles off of the record both mix a good deal of melodic and heavy elements. Second track and first single Smile In Your Sleep
opens with a nice clean riff over a fitting rhythm section before exploding into an epic like chorus. Drums do stand out a bit during the chorus, as they do a lot in setting the fast paced tempo. A pleasing guitar riff comes out during the second part of the chorus, just working very well with the flow and adding a little something extra. There is quite the heavy bridge present with some screaming and even a bit of double bass. It can drag on a bit some days, but the clean section afterwards contrasts the mood wonderfully. The section also does a perfect job of leading into the final chorus. Once again a mini breakdown comes out after the last chorus, this time not dragging on and ending the song in good fashion. Title track and second single Discovering The Waterfront
is probably the softest song on the record. This is far from a bad thing, as it really gives vocals a chance to shine. Beautiful clean guitar work makes up the intro and verses. During the second verse some sustained distorted notes fit very well atop of the clean riff. The chorus picks things up a bit once again really giving Shane a moment to show just how much he has improved vocally. Throughout the song a variety of sections are revealed, and despite that it clocks in as the longest song on the record, it does not drag on in the least bit. This is one of those songs the band would not have been able to make work a year ago. Overall just a general sense of development and improvement is shown by all five members.
There is a whole separate category that some songs belong on in the record. While the can easily fall into a heavy, soft or a mix of both section, they deserve their own. These songs are the ones that will make the listener forget they are listening to Silverstein
. The growth over only a year is astonishing, as they are now capable just flat out breathtaking songs. My Heroine
is a prime example of this, containing some of the band�s best lyrics to date. It opens with a sole soft riff with some keyboard like sounds in the back round. Shane comes in before drums build up into a heavy pre chorus. The screaming fits the song extremely well, leading into a wonderful chorus. Lyrics really stand out as being well written and meaningful throughout the song.
I bet you laugh, at the thought of me thinking for myself.
I bet you believe, that I'm better off with you than someone else.
Your face arrives again, all hope I had becomes surreal.
But under your covers more torture than pleasure
And just past your lips there's more anger than laughter
Not now or forever will I ever change you
I know that to go on, I'll break you, my habit
Bits of screaming heard end up being in the perfect the amount, giving the song a superb deal of substance and variety. All in all the song ends up being arguably the best on the record. It is beautiful, powerful, passionate, and just wonderfully written. Another song which struck as being something a bit different for the band was Three Hours Back
. It has a great deal of the elements Silverstein
is known for, yet gets them across in a different way. The intro riff has a bit of a western classic rock feel to it, sort of difficult to explain, but its tone is amazing and it sounds really cool. It is a little something that just sticks out from the rest of the album. The verse contains a bit of screaming sprinkled in, working very well in shaping the mood of the song. During the chorus the riff comes back out, creating once again a totally diverse mood from the rest of the album. The second verse slows down a bit, as bass is heard over guitars at some moments. Some very nice lines come out as it builds up into a breakdown with fantastic screaming. The wonderful guitar lick comes back during the final chorus providing a very enjoyable end to a well executed, unique song. Being one of the final songs on the album, it really shows just how excellent the band has become and what they are fully capable of.
Comparing this album to the band�s debut, improvements are overwhelming in some areas. Everything seems to be stepped up a notch, and as a result the songs are at a much higher caliber. A great variety of styles and sounds are found throughout the album. One thing very noticeable is that Silverstein
is still doing a mix of the straightforward songs yet not being afraid of straying out on a limb in some cases. The question beckons as to whether or not the band will ever feel completely comfortable creating something that is completely different from their general sound. Moments are heard on the album where they do this successfully, yet there are plenty of moments where things are just the superbly solid Silverstein
everyone is accustomed to. Regardless of the case, this record is an extremely enjoyable listen filled with passion and beauty. If there were any doubts after the first record about this band being a year long trend, this will wash them away. Discovering The Waterfront
is proof plain and simple that Silverstein
is not going anywhere anytime soon. The future is only looking brighter for the Canadian quintet as their improvement and development is overwhelming.
Final Rating: 4/5