Silent Drive
Fairhaven


4.0
excellent

Review

by M. Worden CONTRIBUTOR (101 Reviews)
June 22nd, 2022 | 60 replies


Release Date: 06/10/2022 | Tracklist

Review Summary: We're still here.

Oddly enough, Silent Drive’s unexpected return to relevance isn’t the only case of a post-hardcore group being resuscitated well over a decade after their single LP release. Stranger still is how undeniably vivacious Fairhaven sounds in spite of the elongated gap between records. Lives quickly change, musical preferences are altered, emotions fluctuate, families, all other shenanigans—nothing is static. It’s how loved albums are ‘grown’ from or media preferences ‘mature,’ both of which are fancy ways of saying, “You’re old now and Linkin Park ain’t hitting the same.” This exercise easily could’ve gone down the dark road of the archetypal comeback album—a heavy music band taking a stab at repeating the glory days seems fated for disaster—yet it’s evident that Silent Drive truly desired the record presented here. Around every turn are wonderful reminders about how the heart of the group has remained intact; whatever they’ve crafted here and every decision made, agreeable or disagreeable, was made out of a genuine urge to finish what the bygone Mexican Standoff demo started. When Zach Jordan screams out the finale to “God Vs. I,” it’s impossible to not detect his agony at losing a close friend to things out of his control. When “Unspoken Life” is provided a fresh coat of paint after being shelved for years, the care taken to inject classic post-hardcore energy into it is clearly heard, transforming the track into a foot-tapping romp with a gritty central riff. There’s an abundance of youthful exuberance coursing through this delayed sophomore effort, and that charm on its own is enough to make this an enjoyable experience. As a bonus, Silent Drive have concocted a series of hits built to rival even their greatest achievements.

The core expectations of the Silent Drive sonic identity are present and accounted for: a plethora of melodic riffs, copious of heartbreak-inspired lyrics, the eclectic yells and croons of Jordan, and a healthy balance of rockin’ post-hardcore forays and more gradual numbers. The key difference is primarily in dynamics; Love is Worth It reveled in its ability to hit a second gear or otherwise evolve the intensity of a track. It’s something exemplified by cuts like “Banana Rejection” or “Rooftops” where a delicious bass lick would convert from tour guide to conqueror, constructing a menacing rhythm that induced incessant headbanging. It was also predisposed to a more alternative mood that dwelled on thoughts rather than launching them at the listener. On Fairhaven, songs tend to stick to their established guns. They’ll still vie to achieve a compelling climax, but how the band goes about reaching it feels more singular in its intent. Where Love possessed intrigue, this disc contains precise violence. If the thrilling opener “Dearly Beloved” is any indication, this approach shouldn’t be labeled a downgrade; it has instead morphed Silent Drive’s focus into a laser, and on occasions such as the aforementioned song, the focus is entirely on shredding away and screaming out grievances. The fast pace and the pounding drums generate a high level of adrenaline right out of the gate, setting a clear tone for successive entries. It’s a brilliant partner to the following “Prescription for Death” –a slower structure whose foreboding riff provides a grand sense of scale alongside powerful vocal harmonies. Both examples transition gracefully to second halves that alter progression in an engaging manner; the former executes a crescendo into a soaring lead solo, whereas the latter devolves into a crunching passage buttressed by a wailing guitar. Though separate in style, each bring plenty of goods to the table.

There’s an underlying theme of extremes in Fairhaven. A tug of war between love, loss, grief, qualms with God (the whole existentialist package, really) reigns over the CD. Though this is a decidedly cleaner affair than prior works—the Massachusetts lads have polished Fairhaven in order to highlight the variety of colorful leads that populate the 45-minute duration—it is one that remains immersed in emotional intensity. Those alternative sections remain, and in this pristine environment, their catchy hooks easily weasel their way into consciousness. The delicate strumming of “The Impossible Dream” sounds ethereal—an ideal coupling for an offering painted by romantic prose, their sincerity nailed by the vulnerability of Jordan’s soulful cleans. Offsetting this too-good-to-be-true balladry is the behemoth that is “God vs. I,” in which Silent Drive’s frontman wrestles with the cruel reality of losing a loved one to cancer. There’s no sugarcoating the rage surging through verses that hurl insults to the heavens, and the absolutely stellar breakdown—one of the choice few to be discovered here—portrays this mental state expertly. Distorted guitars grasp the listener as the crashing percussion and Jordan’s anguished shouts drag them into the depths. For a more atmospheric venture, there is the double-feature of “Abandon Ship” and “Peanut and the Radio Flyer.” The first of the bunch announces its presence with twinkling instrumentation and gentle drumming, eventually segueing into an explosive chorus propped up by a growling bass. The second relies entirely on stripping away all elements, instead employing a lone acoustic guitar to afford the audience a dose of serenity. Regardless of how a given music appreciator feels, there’s an appropriate track to gravitate towards.

It’s purely on the grounds of earnestness that Silent Drive present themselves. Simply put, if an audiophile doesn’t buy into the band’s dedication, fixated instead on changes or whether or not this comeback was necessary, then the proceedings fall flat. Nothing embodies this more than Zach Jordan himself; his vocals have often been a point of contention due to their distinct delivery, what with its tone part emo-whine, part-croon, and rough around the edges—and that’s not to mention his unique, raspy shouts. Aging, much like the band around him, seems to have served Jordan well; his singing has a tinge of wear to it, capturing the decade-plus of experiences that have been internalized and subsequently unloaded in one burst of passion. There’s nothing glorious about how the frontman screams out the final “I was struggling to bend time” in the closing minute of definitive album highlight “God vs. I”; his vocal cords are forced to an apex where they crack, bend, and waver under the weight of unavoidable tragedy. It’s a chilling forfeiture of composure in a performance that, for the most part, is without faults to find. Whether he is belting out the chorus to the pop-punk-esque “Unspoken Life” or prowling about the aggressive “The Spirit,” Jordan is up to the task, and his recognizable output is the binding agent of Fairhaven. It’s what assists in making the disc something real –something that had to be purged from the recesses of thought, be those concepts of acceptance or frustration.

Unlike many failed revivals that make a big show about rekindling their classics, Silent Drive erected a crowd pleaser without intentionally doing so; they opted to embrace subtle alterations to their sound to the point where listeners have more groundwork to put in. Pressing ‘Play’ on Fairhaven isn’t as straightforward as dreaming up a Greats Hits compilation, and it rather serves as a novel contribution to the group’s catalog. It’s an adventure that’s unafraid to incorporate more modern, poppy sensibilities to ensnare a casual audience, yet simultaneously brazen enough to rock out to loud, pissed-off hardcore refrains. What one ultimately receives is exactly what’s labeled on the tin: an older, weathered post-hardcore crew of yesteryear that disappeared, witnessed the definition of life in its glowing hues and darkest shades, then journeyed back from the void to impart their accrued wisdom. The cast is the same—fellow original members Nick Van Someren, Pete Chilton, and Dave Joyal are reunited, further illustrating exactly how essential crafting Fairhaven was. However, they’ve advanced in mileage as the rest of the world has, and they’re not hiding it despite how spirited their work appears. For those that miss the good ol’ days, whenever they may have been, this is an anthem, with Someren’s delicious melodies the call to arms. For those that have plainly just woken up and saw how far the calendar pages have flown, or for those that want to escape into a mountain of earworm choruses, Silent Drive are prepared to meet the objective. Don’t call it a comeback.



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user ratings (22)
3.8
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
June 22nd 2022


14080 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Dragged my feet writing this but eventually composed some thoughts. Of all the bands to make a return, Silent Drive wasn't on my radar, but this album is a bunch of fun and been stuck in my head. Worthy of praise.

Digging: Greg Puciato - Mirrorcell

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
June 22nd 2022


17284 Comments


#100 Reviews.

That's a milestone son.

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
June 22nd 2022


14080 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Shit, I forgot lol. And I was gonna make a big deal out of it and everything!

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
June 22nd 2022


14080 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

So yeah, took me a few years but we hit #100. I guess this was the album that made it happen!

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
June 22nd 2022


17284 Comments


Took me a few years too. A decade later and yeah...

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
June 22nd 2022


14080 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

My life's at a point where I figure I'll always be too busy to be on the grind and searching for things like I used to. My job makes it hard to listen to stuff at work (or at least hard to pay attention) and the rest of my day is spent juggling different passions.



I don't think I'll ever be gone, but I don't know if I'll ever have that level of productivity. It just come and goes.

pizzamachine
June 22nd 2022


16519 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

More like ReviewKid congrats 🤌🏻🕺🏻

Digging: Draconian - Under a Godless Veil

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
June 22nd 2022


14080 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Appreciate it, mi amigo

SteakByrnes
June 22nd 2022


27098 Comments


the boy doth review, and ist gud!

Digging: Earthists. - Have A Good Cult

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
June 22nd 2022


14080 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Danke comrade



This is a fun album

TheSpirit
June 22nd 2022


29709 Comments


Happy 100~

I'll have to check this, nice review

Digging: Panopticon - Collapse (remixed and remastered)

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
June 22nd 2022


14080 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Thanks! It's been a ride.



I might be a bit higher on this just because it makes me emotional lol, but it's a solid album regardless.

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
June 22nd 2022


14080 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

YOU'LL WATCH ME



YOU'LL WATCH ME



SOAR THROUGH LIFE WITH SUCH GRACE



They don't do breakdowns often but they're awesome when they do appear

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
June 23rd 2022


14080 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Thank you for the feature < 3

grandfather
June 23rd 2022


189 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Glad this got a good review! Great record

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
June 23rd 2022


14080 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I promised I would my man, the MarsBro delivers m/



Some of these songs in particular have really grown on me.

GhostShelter
June 23rd 2022


219 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh shit it's out.

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
June 23rd 2022


14080 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

And now, we get it trending. Come along now, lads.

Calc
June 23rd 2022


16878 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I wanted to like this more after I heard dearly beloved. I think that's a pretty unique and rockin song.

Shiranui
June 23rd 2022


899 Comments


Skipping through this and the dude has got some very characteristic pipes. Liking the harsh vocals, but not so sure about the higher cleans.



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