"Dead Reflection" By Silverstein
Post-Hardcore/Released July 14, 2017
Typically, I'm highly critical of bands that regular the Vans Warped Tour. My stereotype of the bands often on those tours include visions of dyed emo hair, overly dramatic lyrics, bland pop punk, and whiny frontmen who sound like they never hit puberty. Given, that scene is geared towards a younger demographic than myself but I'm typically more open than most to various styles of music. On the more recent Warped Tours however the lineups have started including heavier fare with several bands that I'm a fan of including Hatebreed, Municipal Waste, The Acacia Strain, and Candiria on the 2017 tour. This encouraged me to give the mainstay bands of the tour a second look. Including one of the scene's leading artist, Silverstein, with their newest release Dead Reflection.
I was already familiar with Silverstein front man Shane Told through his Lead Singer Syndrome podcast and it was through there I heard the lead single from Dead Reflection titled "Retrograde". I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the track. A strong, melodic chorus interspersed with aggressive verses inspired by hardcore punk is a formula I've always been a fan of and one the band pulled off very well. Afterwards I had to give the rest of the album a listen upon its release on July 14th.
On this record Silverstein holds much in common with bands from the emo and post-hardcore scenes. The band blends their punk, hardcore, and emo influences into a consistent sound that doesn't leave any song feeling out of place on the record. Shane Told definitely has one of those tenor range "emo voices" (how do so many singers have that voice?), but it doesn't get overly annoying with his use of hardcore style screamed vocals which add a contrasting dynamic and more aggressive edge to the band's music. The lyrics do dip into cliche every now and then but the well constructed vocal melodies more than make up for it.
Dead Reflection kicks off with a one-two punch of mosh-worthy tracks in "Last Looks" and "Retrograde". The production is very clean but the tracks maintain a strong grit within them with dirty guitar licks that inspire head banging aggression and are able to flow into their melodic choruses without a jarring change in mood. Most of the other harder tracks on the album are in the realm of pure punk rock such as "Ghost" and "Demons". These songs maintain a high energy with D-Beat drum patterns and big choruses that will stick in your head long after a first listen. Silverstein's emo influences are well represented in the tracks "Lost Positives" and "The Afterglow". As deeply rooted as these tracks are in pop punk, which I'm typically not a fan of, the catchy choruses and well constructed songwriting make these fun tracks to sing along to and enjoy. "Cut And Run" is a personal favorite on the album that sounds different from the rest of record with its slick, danceable guitar riff and darker vibe than a lot of the other tracks. The softer tracks on the album maintain the quality put forth by the harder ones in the songs "Aquamarine", "Secret's Safe", and closing track "Wake Up". These songs put a bigger focus on atmospheric vibes and avoids the cheese most other bands of this style put forth when they go slow and melodic.
This latest effort from Silverstein is a surprisingly deep record that gives evidence of why the band has enjoyed such a long career. The songwriting and execution of each song is top quality and features a great diversity of style that is a cut above many of the band's peers. I went into this record with low expectations and instead came away as a new fan of the band. How this record stands up compared to the rest of Silverstein's discography is for the fans to decide. But if you're like me and don't hold much screamo in high regard then give a listen to Dead Reflection and allow Silverstein to change your mind.
Favorite Track: "Last Looks"
Highlight Tracks: "Retrograde", "Cut And Run", "The Afterglow"