LP Review; Silverstein: “Misery Made Me”

Over the past few years, we have heard Silverstein bob and weave in regards to hardcore influence within their music; however, even with a variety of different musical genre fronts, they were still able to sprinkle their characteristic sound through vocal and instrumental approach within each release. With this fluctuation, it is hard to anticipate what the band is bringing to the table through this 2022 release. Let’s turn towards the music to see what Silverstein has in store. (Here’s to hoping for a big metal-alternative/hardcore release that enhances the scene).

Now, there are a lot of musical influences heard throughout the record as I will discuss throughout the review; however, just to get the ball rolling I have to say enthusiastically: yes, we got another hardcore album (and a good one at that).

Over the past few years, there haven’t been many exciting Metal-Alternative albums that resonated in the spirit of the genre, while also feeling innovative, fresh, and interesting, but I am happy to report that Silverstein is bringing that heat with this release. This record is comprised of 11 tracks from front to back, and the song formula utilized throughout reminds me of the nostalgia of 2012-2016 hardcore music. We have the heavy vocals and instrumental breakdowns. We have witty lyrical lines that are emphasized either through strategic silence, different vocal techniques, and (or) by shifting the orchestration to bring more contrast to the work. Providing this technique when writing allows the instrumentalists to extrapolate their moments through instrumental breakdowns and countermelodies, since the artist is putting weight to the punchline moments.

When listening to the record as a whole, I feel as if the overall finishing of each selection has some modern touches to it as it doesn’t feel as raw and edgy as some of their older selections. When I think of older Silverstein like “Stand Amid the Roar,” there was a tinge of unfinished editing that made the sound unique to the band. That exact finish is not present on the album, but I don’t think that takes away from the work- just shows the evolution of the band.

To further my previous point, Silverstein, through their musical techniques, creates this musical experience in the Metal-Alternative genre that keeps us listening through contrast. I mentioned strategic silence, but it is much more than that. Throughout most selections, we have moments, where the instrumentals and the vocals align in homorhythmic moments to section different parts of the melodic line. This snaps the listeners into place because they only have that to focus on. However, in the opposite direction, Silverstein provides moments where, even though the lyrical line takes precedent over the entire work, the instrumentals have these catchy riffs in the background that make the ears wonder to listen to all of the moving parts that come together to make their music special. This technique is able to work because, although dynamic, having a middle ground of toying with the usage of orchestration throughout, makes each song feel as if it would fit together on a piece of work.

With that previous point in mind, I do feel that there is some separation between track to track. This album does not flow seamlessly together as songs pop the listeners into something completely new. Contrast wise: it makes things interesting, but not having that flow can be a deterrent for some listeners. I know for myself, I enjoy records that seem to have a natural progression, when parts of the whole start to feel distant one way and then we jump another- it feels easy to get lost (in a bad way).

The craftsmanship of this album (as I can’t stop mentioning) holds the golden ticket for me. Before I conclude the review, I have to talk about the song “The Altar/Mary.” The band takes you about halfway through the song, maybe even 2/3s of the way through the song- heavy, intense, going for it, and all of a sudden the song shifts into this modern-ballad section that makes you double check to see if you are on the same song. At first, this just through me through a loop, but after carful listening, I was jazzed to hear how they made it somehow work as a cohesive song. Is it the approach I would use often? No, but once on an album to make a statement? Absolutely, yes.

An aspect of this record that I found to be the cherry on top was the conclusion of it all. Up until the end, Silverstein is leaning into the heavy nature of the Hardcore genre and provides hit after hit with intense selections. Then, they end with the track “Misery,” which is a heartfelt ballad that, lyrically, summarizes the themes of the record as a whole. This makes the album feel as if the story has come to a close, and we get to experience a different side of emotion from the artist. Overall, I am giving this album a 4.5 out of 5 stars. I wanted a heavy-hitting hardcore album that was crafty and memorable, and that’s exactly what we all got through this release.

*”Misery Made Me” was released on May 6th, 2022 through UNFD.

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