Shane & Ryan Flynn
Review: Silverstein - A Beautiful Place To Drown
Silverstein are a band that doesn't need much of an introduction as they have been OG's of the emo/post-hardcore scene for nearly two decades now. A Beautiful Place To Drown is their first record since 2017's Dead Reflection, which was received quite well by fans and critics alike. The release of this record marks the Canadian groups 10th full-length effort, a very impressive feat in it's own right. Much of the Toronto-based bands newer material has followed more of a pop punk style than any of the releases from the first half of their careers. I was fairly impressed with the batch of singles that were used to promote this album, with wisely chosen features and catchy choruses my expectations were set rather high for a band I honestly never got into quite to the level as many other post-hardcore fans.
We start things off with Bad Habits, a track I saw receive some hate online but I genuinely really enjoyed this one with it's fun demeanor and easy to remember chorus. Also worth mentioning is the very nicely performed riff on the track played by progressive metal group Intervals. I couldn't think of a better way for the album to start than with a song that is sure to remain a staple of their set-list like this one. Burn It Down features charismatic and energetic Beartooth frontman, Caleb Shomo. This one has a very punk and wild vibe to it, something Shomo truly excels at delivering time after time. The first track to solely feature Silverstein is Where Are You and it's a bit of a mixed bag . The song steps out of post-hardcore in favor of alternative rock and with it's very sterile and highly produced nature it loses any sense of feeling and originality. This one was a swing and miss.
Nevertheless the record spins on with another single, Infinite, which features a guest spot from drummer/vocalist of one of our favorite bands Underoath’s Aaron Gillespie. Here we get a taste of what I believe Silverstein to really stand out at, mixing fun pop sensibilities with raw screamed post-hardcore parts. Shape Shift pushes the album forward with a bit of balladry and to an extent suffers from the same fate of Where Are You. When the band chooses to go for softer more alternative sounds, they are often guilty of over-production. All On Me may displease some fans with it's poppy nature but I feel this may be their strongest attempt at this style and the song remains pretty catchy throughout. I think the saxophone is a really nice and classy touch and while some might view it as gimmickry, I think it's a pretty unique implementation in this genre that is rarely heard. At the very list the group deserves some credit and respect for attempting to step put of the emo box they've existed in for the large majority of their careers.
Madness is a surprisingly great track. I have to admit I judged a book by it's cover and when I saw the feature of Princess Nokia, who I assumed was a pop artist thus meaning this would be an attempt at a pop ballad by the band. What we got however was a short but sweet feature from Nokia with pleasantly unedited or touched-up vocals into a heavy dirty hardcore riff with harsh screams. This one is certainly a surprise dark-horse standout of the album for me. Rolling along, Say Yes sees the band once again successfully delve into pop-punk with a carefree and playful vibe that is extremely easy to get behind. I find the more pop-punk-centric tracks to be the most re-listenable for the new era of Silverstein, which may be an unpopular opinion.
September 14th continues down the path of pop and punk fusion this time with a more of a somber approach reflecting on past history of the members. As the album approaches it's end we get a feature from Simple Plan vocalist Pierre Bouvier on Take What You Give and much as expected, this track aims for catchiness, partially achieving it's desired effect . at best. When the record ends I'm left feeling pretty positive about this release. While most reviews I've read have been negative, I see many bright spots and standouts on A Beautiful Place To Drown. I admit openly, many of the attempts at a more pop flavor fail to hit the mark largely do to way too clean of production for a guitar driven band. When Silverstein plays to their strengths they still perform as well as any post-hardcore band of their era. I still think the band has much left to offer and this album slides in pretty nicely to their discography. It get's 3.5 out of 5 stars from us.