Post-hardcore veterans Silverstein have been around for quite some time. Over 17 years to be exact. For many bands, the test of time usually begins to takes a toll, but Silverstein aren’t just any other band. Already with a mountain-high list of successful releases, they are continuing to set the bar with Dead Reflection; An album that not only celebrates the next era of Silverstein, but also pays homage to some of the brightest, most memorable moments in their career. Silverstein may have been one of the first to pioneer the genre of post-hardcore, but they are exploring further now than they ever have before with their monster of a release, Dead Reflection–the heaviest Silverstein album known to man.
Dead Reflection from the very get go with “Last Looks,” clearly states itself as something other than your typical Silverstein album. That unrestrained and merciless attitude that is so characteristic of their earlier discography is still present, but its aggressiveness is more potent than ever with monster riffs, earthy chords, and ferocious growls that shake you to your core. The whole album itself may have its slower moments, but, overall, this is the heaviest we’ve ever heard Silverstein. Picking up on that momentum is their single release, “Retrograde,” which carries on with the same tone as the opener. It features more of those anthemic choruses that Silverstein seem to nail every single time on Dead Reflection. A common theme are those live show ready, scream from the rooftop hooks that you just can’t get out of your mind, and it is in this way that songs like “Retrograde” truly shine.
Slowing things down after a rather ferocious open is “Lost Positives,” which tunes down the anger a bit and features a more melancholic tone. This is said to be a soul-searching record for Shane Told, who’s recent life experiences have inspired the lyrics and emotional tone of the record. That emotionality can be felt most in songs like “Lost Positives,” which feature Told at his most vulnerable and Silverstein at their most stripped-down. But the calm doesn’t last long with “Ghost” following as one of the best songs on the entire record. It gave me chills the first time I heard it if that’s any indication as to how amazing it is. With outings like these that are just as catchy as they are furious, Silverstein’s album is off to a great start.
So far we’ve heard songs that symbolize a new era of Silverstein, but “Aquamarine” comes in and welcomes us like an old friend. It’s the “Smile in Your Sleep,” track of Dead Reflection with its infectious as hell chorus and somber feel; However, its not just a mere reflection. It’s here that you can hear the various eras of Silverstein’s career blending together, but its homage to records like Discovering the Waterfront is undeniable. Though it has that throwback appeal, it still shows off Silverstein’s uncanny ability to flawlessly evolve over the years. Dead Reflection moves through moments of deeply rooted pain, like in “Aquamarine” and intense anger, like in track six, “Mirror Box,” that had just recently found their way to the surface; Making Silverstein’s new record an extremely raw and relatable listen.
Up until this point, Dead Reflection‘s tracklist has been solid and thrilling, but there are a few songs that fall lackluster in comparison to those that came before them. “The Afterglow,” in particular, falls short in terms of originality. It’s a rather poppy, repetitive track that isn’t really all that memorable. “Cut and Run” follows it, starting off strong, but it has one of the weakest choruses on the entire album. It has extreme potential, but doesn’t really hit the ground running. These songs aren’t terrible by any means, they are just pale in comparison. With the exception of a few songs, Dead Reflection has no pitfalls. You can literally hear Silverstein coming together on this record, not just for Told, but also for one another. That camaraderie that has existed over the years have made Silverstein one of the most cohesive and reliable bands to date.
As the final track, “Wake Up” rings in, you get a sense of catharsis. Told, especially, seems to wake up to reality and find a sense of calm as he calls out, “Wake up, there’s somebody calling.” Though Dead Reflection isn’t perfect, it’s undeniably human, and that, in the end, is what makes it a release you just can’t resist.
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