February 2, 2006

CD Review: Silverstein - Discovering the Waterfront

Silverstein, never heard of them. After listening to the album, I now understand why I didn't know about them, they aren't exactly my scene. However, all is not lost, I am always up for checking out other music. Of course, that doesn't always work in my favor.

What kind of music is Silverstein? I'm not sure I could tell you, but it does fall within the realm of the current rage of emo-hardcore music that is making the rounds, acts like The Used, My Chemical Romance, and Atreyu. Trying to find the best way to describe them led me to a term that I had been previously unfamiliar with, screamo. I have to admit, that's a new one one me, perhaps I am starting to show my age, losing touch with th music of the up and comers. Then I stop and think "Nah, not me."

My first spin through Discovering the Waterfront didn't leave me all that impressed. They weren't as heavy as I would have liked, and the screaming sounded a lot like everybody else. A few more spins through and I have noticed some things to like about it, not enough to bring me over as a fan, but the music is more interesting, and at times, subtle than I had initially thought.

The album opens with "Your Sword Versus My Dagger," a song that doesn't waste any time kicking the energy up a few notches. A fast riff is driving force, combined with the alternating singing/screaming vocals. A few songs later comes the best song on the disk, "Fist Wrapped in Blood." This track features a great rhythm, some good drumming and possibly the best use of vocals. That is followed by the restrained heartfelt touch of the title track, "Discovering the Waterfront."

The songs tend to blend together, but if you listen some things will begin to pop out. First, and probably the easiest to see, Shane Todd has a very good singing voice, not so much on the screaming side of things. When the voice breaks into screaming mode, he loses a lot of the uniqueness of his singing, the band is at its best when he is in that mode. Next, the drumming, the entire album is peppered with these interesting fills and breaks from Paul Koehler. Lastly, the twin guitars of Neil Boshart and Josh Bradford have moments of nice harmonies throughout. Still, if they could only come together in an original song.

Bottomline. The band is good, but they seem to blend in with the rest of these so-called "screamo" bands that have been popping up. They do have an explosive energy that seems to be restrained on the disk, if they could cut loose, they could be on to something. The disk came with a bonus DVD which featured a couple of live tracks, demonstrating their explosivity. It also has a couple of videos with band commentary and some behind the scenes footage of making the disk.

Mildly Recommended. ** / *****


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