Review: Silverstein – Dead Reflection

After seven albums, you might think Silverstein have little left to say, yet with their eighth outing, the influential post-hardcore Canadians show there is plenty of motivation left in the tank. Ultimately, ‘Dead Reflection’ explores the painful decline of mental health through the lens of broken relationships, betrayal, self-hatred and regret.

‘Retrograde’ marches forward with distorted guitars and rapid drumming. Lead singer Shane Told’s smooth vocals switch to raspy screams as the expansive chorus ends on a cynical reminder – those closest to you hurt you the most: “The stronger the ties, the sharper the knife.” This resentment fluctuates during the album, the overtly bitter ‘Aquamarine’ countering the pop-punkier ‘The Afterglow’, whose cheery sound only masks regret: “Now I’m carving our names in the tabletop. Heartbreak in a St. Louis parking lot”.

Silverstein’s melodic post-hardcore maintains a balance of heavy, and hook-driven or pop-borrowing, elements. Fast-paced ‘Ghost’ features jagged riffs, an anthemic chorus and gang vocals, creating interesting imagery like “Cold nights and a broken home, Long talks with the dial tone”. Standout ‘Mirror Box’ contrasts mellower verses with a triumphant chorus, showcasing Told’s vocal range and timbre; while the verses are expressive, the chorus soars powerfully above. These contrasts are starkest on ‘Demons’ and ‘Whiplash’, alternating between angsty, screamed vocals and clean melodies.

Darker moments include ‘Secret’s Safe’, where Told battles against self-hatred, emotions building alongside strings (“Make me, hate me, bottle me up inside”). It’s this raw candidness that makes ‘Dead Reflections’ so compelling. Final track ‘Wake Up’ begins with chimes of washed-out guitars and depicts rock-bottom as Told screams in antipathy. It’s a spellbinding end to the record, layers of voices urging “Wake up… there’s somebody calling” to save himself.

After performing together for seventeen years and selling millions of records, Silverstein have little left to prove. Nevertheless, ‘Dead Reflections’ is both cathartic and extremely catchy, whilst offering a creative and emotional outlet to help Told recover. Although firm Silverstein fans are bound to enjoy this, it’s definitely worth casual listeners checking out too.

3.5/5

‘Dead Reflections’ by Silverstein is released on 14th July by Rise Records.

Silverstein links: Facebook|Twitter|Instagram|Bandcamp

Words by Clare O’Shea (@Clare_OShea)

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