Review Summary: Silverstein make arguably their strongest record yet, but will challenge no opinions with this release
Some bands adapt and change their sound during the course of their career rather dramatically, going from one style to another between albums. Others simply change very slightly from album to album, perfecting a signature sound. Silverstein, a post-hardcore 5 piece are in the second category. The Canadians have returned for their 5th full length and, as expected, there is no dramatic change. The nearest they got to that change was their 3rd full length, Arrivals And Departures, which flirted with a lighter more accessible radio-friendly tone in several songs. In other words, fans weren’t too happy. This was followed by 2009’s A Shipwreck In The Sand, a return to form and a spectacular concept album. Now they have a new record, Rescue.
Rescue opens very promisingly, the first track, Medication, has a very grand opening feel to it, and ends in a good dual vocal trade off, with clean backing vocals and vocalist Shane Told changing from screaming to cleans over the top of that. It really starts the album on a positive note, building to a fantastic climax and is one of my favourite songs this year. The next song is one that sounds very typically Silverstein. Sacrifice was on the Transitions EP and is carried over, and is an incredibly good and catchy song. It’s a song that could have appeared on any of the previous albums without sounding too out of place.
While Forget Your Heart, the third song, is good enough track, the next truly notable song on the album is further along, the 6th track Texas Mickey. Opening with a slightly typical scream/sing formula in the verse, it features a fairly solid chorus. The turning point comes when Anthony of Bayside comes in after the second chorus. His distinctive and brilliant voice providing a needed change as the song differs pace. Anthony takes up lead vocals while Told screams behind him as the song injects some much needed change into the album, just as it starts becoming repetitive.
A few other songs really grabbed me, including upcoming single The Artist, a hard hitting track full of screaming and melodic riffing in the verses. It ends on a HUGE breakdown and is definitely one of the harder hitting tracks, making it a surprising single choice. The next song Burning Hearts features great drumming, and a short solo towards the end which is unexpected, while the other song to really grab me is possibly the softest on the CD, Darling Harbour. Sure to split opinions, its fairly poppy compared to the rest of the record, but Silverstein always have a softer song on the CD and this is one of the best yet. It’s a good pop-punk song that’s very catchy and enjoyable which serves to nicely break up the record.
However it highlights something that is perhaps a problem for the album, lyrics. Most of the lyrics are largely cliché and rather average at best, and this song only serves to show this. With less instrumentation and only clean vocals, the lyrics become more prominent, and they simply are not up to such scrutiny. Cliché lyrics such as “(Darling) Don’t throw it all away, (Darling) I’m here to make you stay with me” could have been written by almost any band and contain very little substance. If however you can forgive the mediocre lyrics, there is a very enjoyable song to be found.
Aside from that, Shane Told performs well, with impassioned cleans and ferocious screams, while the guitarists often manage to do their best imitating bands such as Funeral For A Friend, mixing breakdowns with meandering guitar runs. The bass, as usual with this genre, gets lost in the mix but when it does appear it usually seems to be fairly basic. Drumming is to a fairly high standard, especially on songs like The Artist where he really gets a license to smash the kit.
Overall it’s an album that most Silverstein fans should be pleased with, its nothing genre defining but is certainly a solid album by a group that is now becoming a very consistent band. If you are looking for surprises you are likely to be disappointed, but if post-hardcore is your thing this is a good album to pick up.