Album Title: Rescue
Record Label: Hopeless Records
Review by: Eric Stuckart
I remember when Silverstein’s first full length, When Broken is Easily Fixed, first came out in 2003. Their aggressive, almost metal approach to screamo filled in the gap sadly created by the breakup of Grade the year prior, and it was pretty close to what I was looking for. Their style was a little safer — a touch more melodic punk and less hardcore — but vocalist Shane Told embodied the spirit of Grade singer Kyle Bishop in his impassioned screams, and that’s what made me initially fall in love with this band. Plus, for what it’s worth, it was a hell of a lot better than Bishop’s comeback band, the short-lived The Black Maria.
Unfortunately, my adoration for that band was relatively short-lived, as the band aimed for a more mainstream, poppy sound with their follow-up, Discovering the Waterfront, much to my chagrin. The songwriting was toned down, and the screaming was utilized less often, more or less only as punctuation rather than the balanced blend that they had on their first one. In retrospect, I was most likely starting to just lose interest in that style, but I still remember it not being as good of an album.
So with that being said, it comes to a bit of a surprise to see a band like Silverstein in the year 2011. Most of the screamo/post-hardcore bands from their era didn’t have nearly the amount of longevity, having all but packed it up and gone home in favor of either morphing into heavier or more melodic styles, or just breaking up completely.
Thankfully, Rescue sounds more like the triumphant return of an old friend than someone that you stopped talking to years ago that you run into at the grocery store, only to find that they’re still living in the past. There’s an energy in their sound that’s instantly noticeable from the get go. Opener “Medication” kicks with a hell of a fast (for screamo music) alternate picked metal guitar riff, complete with a much appreciated d-beat kicking underneath for the verse. Also, it must be noted that Told has really beefed up his screaming voice, giving the whole spectacle a much more intimidating sound. I’d argue that this is the sound of the band loudly and proudly proclaiming its comeback.
The album flows well from start to finish, without any tracks that really slow down the pace, and generally speaking, the songwriting is the strongest it has been in a very long time. And it is pretty much across the board. The melodic bits are just as strong as the aggressive bits. Perhaps signing to Hopeless Records after years on Victory lit the fire under their asses that they needed to start playing like something was at stake again, because all emo singing aside, some of the riffs on this album are pretty freaking metal.
Take, for example, the melodic death metal inspired tremolo picking behind the breakdown at the end of “Intervention.” And then there’s the guitar solo smack dab in the middle of “Burning Hearts,” which totally caught me off guard. In all honestly, Rescue is probably Silverstein simultaneously at their heaviest and most tuneful, and frankly I think that’s the best route they could have gone.
Other standout songs include “Texas Mickey,” featuring Anthony Raneri of Bayside, which injects a whole new layer of melody into their song, with his melancholic vocal style, and “The Artist,” which also has a guest singer in the form of Brendan Murphy of Counterparts. Probably the heaviest song of the album, his presence helps push the band’s sound into an even more aggressive nature than ever, complete with gang vocals.
It’s funny – just when I thought that it was time to completely write off the Canadian band, this album has completely reignited my interest by being the most cohesive and solid album of the band’s career. The album title was prophetic in the sense that this truly is the Rescue of the band.
For more info, www.silversteinmusic.com
Pads & Panels received a copy of the music courtesy of the record label for review purposes.