Silverstein seemingly exploded onto the Ontario music scene back in 2005 with their second record, Discovering The Waterfront, and, although the Burlington band never slowed down, their time in the limelight has faded. This can be good for some bands, as it gives them the chance to focus on the music they’re really passionate about. With their newest record, Dead Reflections, Silverstein offers a good balance of all their signature sounds, providing a mix of everything from clean, hooky melodies, to crunchy, guitar-driven breakdowns.
This combination of post-hardcore, pop-punk, and alternative rock certainly isn’t anything new. It’s a sound that Silverstein’s been working on for their seventeen-year career, and many bands within those genres have come and gone since then. My biggest issue with the album is that it doesn’t take this sound anywhere it hasn’t been years ago. Surely, not every band needs to break barriers and re-innovate their style with each album, but, it’s hard to appreciate the ninth record from a band when it’s full of forgettable lyrics sung over four-chord progressions, and breakdowns that are polished off with safe, modern sounding production.
Dead Reflections’ first half is the more aggressive of the two with more dissonant guitar riffs, unclean vocals, and breakdowns that aim to fuel the listener with adrenaline. The back half is reserved for cleaner, more upbeat tracks. Shane Told’s vocal performance is solid, seamlessly switching between his screams and his cleans, especially in Dead Reflections’ first half. Even the vocal harmonies are subtle, but do a lot to fill the sound. They do, however, sound heavily produced and I think a lot of authenticities are lost because of it. This makes slower, more emotional tracks like “Secret’s Safe” feel like they didn’t quite reach their full potential and would work better if they were rawer and stripped down.
None of the twelve tracks are significantly underwhelming and the album has its fair share of highlights. The closer “Wake Up” hits that emotional mark much better, not being any rawer in tone, but by starting out reserved leaving for room to grow sonically and building upon chorus repetition. The highest emotional climax is reached once the heavy screams introduce themselves. On the lighter side of things, “The Afterglow” is a high-energy pop-punk track that sports one of the few infectiously catchy choruses on the record and is my personal favourite.
Dead Reflections is enjoyable, but I don’t think it will have much staying-power among the rest of Silverstein’s discography. That said, it’s a sound that’s sure to keep fans happy, and maybe introduce some younger music fans to what the band is all about.
Written by Mathieu Perrier
*edited by Danielle Kenedy