Silverstein’s galloping career has found them further solidifying the claim that they are, almost universally, the best post-hardcore group still active. As the band dives past their sixth LP This is How the Wind Shifts, fans and bystanders alike see a path of corpses, bands in the genre who have not made it through. This album acts as a sort of coda to those deceased groups who came from the same skin as Silverstein (I can name 10 within seconds) as well as a capstone to a wonderfully exciting career as the paramount hardcore group.
Silverstein began like any other now perished peer, debuting with an interesting albeit prototypical album of warm hooks, simplistic break-downs, and whiny emo-core vocals. Yet time passed, and each album found Silverstein maturing in all the right ways, exploring new arenas while staying loyal to what makes the band who they are, and maintaining a strong semblance of creativity and originality despite the easy cries against them and their respective genre. The reason I consider Wind… a capstone release and a coda is the fact that it seems to sum up the best of the genre while moving it forward in all the right places into a brand new era. Emo and hardcore is dead, but one way or another, Silverstein rose from the ashes in all its cliché glory.
The album also collects a lot of the group’s storytelling tendencies, progressing their creativity into what is clearly their best concept release. The album plays a dual dynamic. Each song from the first seven tracks features a complimentary track from the second half (If you follow the song titles, they act as the first and then second half of a phrase). Conceptually, the album is a pure treat, signaling the idea of ‘taking the other path in life.’ One direction, or the other?
Front man Shane Todd crafts his best vocal performance to date, a far cry from the group’s early music where Todd was considered a bit weak as a whole. It took a few releases, but this album (alongside the last one) stamps Todd as not just a competent vocalist, but an intriguing one.
Despite all the proclamations, the album is a bit singular musically. The instrumentation is tight, never meandering into unnecessary passages that don’t belong. Yet despite all this, the album is rather safe, playing the concept card heavily yet not fully complimenting that with truly ambitious tracks. I hate the phrase ‘more of the same,’ but here Silverstein are content doing what they do best with just a smidgen of freshness.
Hide Your Secrets is a huge track and a clear album highlight. Opener Stand Amid the Roar is a powerhouse metallic track of guitar fury and infectious lead hooks. Fortunately, the album’s conceptual structure really allowed for Silverstein to focus on keeping the energy throughout the album. Side 2 is equally strong as the first side. Unfortunately, the album’s overall sameness makes the whole thing blend a bit. It’s also rather short, just over a half hour.
The overall consensus we are dealing with here is that Silverstein are top-tier imaginers, crafting a riveting concept deserving of exploration from the listener. But Silversteina re who they are, and though they move their conceptual creativity forward, instrumentally, the band doesn’t do all that much different. They are clearly veterans of the sound where others have perished beside them. This represents post-hardcore, and its conclusion, but it doesn’t quite represents Silverstein- and their future.