Sound — 8
Silverstein is one of the bands that I give a lot of respect to, mainly because Shane Told (lead vocals) who writes the songs, knows exactly what he's doing instead of doing a more popular fill-in-the-words or change-the-subject approach to songs, like most punk bands have been doing lately. I'm writing this review on the extended version of the CD with the bonus track "Rodeo Clown" origionally written and performed by Lifetime. Silverstein has been around since 2000 and have been giving their label of Idie a run for it's money by creating songs for everyone that anyone can relate to. After tabbing their entire album for bass I found that the bass line is not just the second guitar over again, most of the time at least, and has it's own style and groove in every song. Shane Told is an amazing vocalist both in singing and screaming. I'm not one for too much screaming but he puts in just the right amount and it's not that girly shriak that most punk bands have been proclaiming as a scream, it's a nice hard scream, that holds a lot of emotion and force. What really impresses me about his vocalling skills is that he can manuever between his scream and voice with ease and has a nice clean sound. Billy Hamilton (bass guitar) is a fair BGV but isn't as good a vocalist a s Shane. He is very relaxed with his bass though, after watching the DVD that comes with the extended version of the CD. Putting in some bass solos hear and there, escpecially "Your Sword Versus My Dagger" and "Three Hours Back". Neil Boshart (lead guitar) has an amazing nack of being able to come up with a catchy guitar riff that is just as cool as it is to play. He is amazing at the fretboard but not quite a legend, actually not even close but still a good guitarist. Josh Bradford (back guitar) has his own nack for guitar and is not bad himself, and can play a simple solo to back Neil up to make it sound cool like in "The Ides Of March". Paul Koehler (drums) is crazy in a good way. everytime I mention playing Silverstein music with my band, my drummer tries to say no because Paul has a very fast drum beat that is hard to follow but very catchy. Paul and Bill are also Straightedge and the rest of the band is drug-free and smoke free but have a few drinks here and there.
Lyrics — 8
On this part of the review, I will give you my impression of the song and what Shane has to say about the meaning of the song in the booklet that comes with the CD. 01. Your Sword Versus My Dagger - great way to open up the CD with a nice guitar riff, fast tempo, and bass solo in the middle, it's like a very good sanwhich. Lots of screaming but it goes with the song so all in all great song. 02. Shane's Story - a lot of the lyrics I (Shane) write are very graphic and talk about physical pain and action. These lyrics are almost always metaphrical for internal feelings and emotional actions not actual violence. This song is not actually about cutting someone. It's not about daggers or swords at all. This song is about how so many relationships have trust issues and how so many times relationships end because of misunderstandings. There is a lot of temptation and even though most people don't act on it, you still have to trust the other person not to either. Some people cannot trust other people because they've been hurt before or they are just the type of people that thrive on drama and strife. Oftentimes people are so sure they are being decieved that they end up acting on these things to get even with the other person. I get asked a lot about the line 'Verona Live Inside of You.' Verona is the setting of 'Romeo and Juliet' which is a tradgic play written by William Shakesspeare. 03. Smile In Your Sleep - first single off the CD and they really ge tcreative with the tapping run in the verse and bridge. Great chorus and if you've seen the video, I have my suspisions about the butler. Shane's story: "This song was written after having one of the most vivid, disturbing dreams of my life. We were on tour in the UK and because of the traveling and jet lag, when we arived I slept for 16 hours straight. After waking up totally disoriented and not even remembering I was in the UK; I thought this dream was real for a few minutes. This song is pretty self-explanitory and is about someone thinking thathis significant other is being unfaithful leading him to go crazy. This is one of the few songs where I actually refer to violence in the line 'I dream of steel, maroon and war your end.' This still is subtler than some of the songs where the violence is metaphorical." 04. The Ides Of March - this is surprisingly a very good song musically with the three guitars in the middle part and the minimal screaming, the cool bass line, but some of the lyrics I just can't relate to but htey stay to the subject. 05. Shane's Story - "is the day Julius Caesar was assassinated, betrayed by his own people and his son. This song is about a person coming back as a ghost to torment the person who betrayed him. This song was actually written on March 15th, 2005 after reading a news story about it being The Ides of March and remembering the story of Julius Caesar. This song is not to come off at suicidal at all, and I hesitate to even mention this, but some of the lyrics suggest it. It was written about a siuation I had where a girl I was involved with was not stable. I have never been suicidal. I have never thought about suicide at all. I have never cut myself or have never done anything like that. Those actions are not normal and if you are having problems, there are people you can talk to." 06. Fist Wrapped In Blood - this is all metaphorical but still very graphic. Very intense guitars and screaming, very very heavy. Not my favorite but it's ok. Shane's story: "These lyrics are overly graphic and violent, but again these are describing feelings of emotional pain in terms of actual forms of torture. The line, 'Torturing me, words form your own lips, 'sums that up.' When I'm choking on words you'll never say,' describes the difficulty of being in a one-sided relationship with someone who doesn't feel the same way you do. The tital, which comes from the movie, 'Closer' describes how a heart looks like a fist wrpped in blood and is just an organ. It has nothing to do with feelings and love. It's meant to describe someone as heartless." 07. Discovering The Waterfront - I personally think that this is one of the best songs on the album if not hte best. I love this song in all it's perspectives, lyrics, guitar, bass, everything. Shane's story: "This song is the title track and ties with the cover art and concept of the album artwork as a whole. The person on the front cover is torn between 2 situations. One is staying in the burning city behind him, a place he knows to be bad, and the other is to venture out into the water to a place that falls off into the unknown. This happens in many situations in life; weather it's a dead end job, a bad relationship, or a bad living situation, people need to realize that sometimes it's better to go into the unknown than stay in a place where they are unhappy and not progressing. This song is about getting through that and realize that things will not change by themselves. People need to make initiative in their own lives to be happy and successful." 08. Defend You - brilliant guitars and the syrics are good too, but in my opinion there is justa little too much screaming, but sometimes you need songs like this. Shane's story: "Defend You is written about the one friend everyone has who has changed for the worse. I have seen it 100 times This friend used to be great to be around and everyone loved them, but now they have jsut lost their way. Being an old friend, you try to help them, but it's almost impossible to get them back on the right track. A lot of people think this song fits in the least sith the concept of the record, but it actually ties in very strongly. A lot of times when your friends change, they affect you, as well. Sometimes this can be for the better, but often it drags you down into a place you don't want to be. You need to stay strong and be yourself. Sometimes you need to leave people that were your friends behind. It's not easy but sometimes it's necessary." 09. My Heroine - Silverstein has jsut recently come out with a new video for this song and I think that this song is pretty good because it has a double meaning of someone being torn apart by drugs or being in a relationship with someone you can't get enough of but know that you shouldn't have them. Shane's story: "I get a lot of questions bout the lyrics of this song. First of all, it's not about drugs. It's about a situation I'd been in where I was with someone and I couldn't move on even though I knew I was better off leaving her behind. I likened the relationship to a drug addiction, where even though you know it's terrinble for you, you can't get away from it. when I say in the song 'Your my heroine' it means that I'm almost evious that the person can have such a hold on me. It's a double meaning of the word 'Heroine' a female hero and 'Heroin' the highly destructive drug." 10. Always And Never - the intro is one of the most impressive arrangements on the album but I find that some of the lyrics are cheesy but most of them are outstanding. Shane's story: "This was the last song we wrote and recorded and was probibly hte hardest to figure out for both vocals and lyrics. Interestingly, a lot of people say this song is their favorite. Neil came up with the chorus melody, 'I'll take it back to the streets...' and some of the lyrics too. I took the meaning of that and wrote the lyrics about something a friend of mine was going through at the time. He was in a relationship that ended disasterously and I told him I knew from the very beginning it was going to happen. When I explained to him why, he told me about all the bad signs there were from the beginning, but how he managed to put them aside even though he knew deep down that htis person was bad news. This was really interesting to me, but it happens all the time in all types of situations. This song has a very dark side, but it is supposed to be a song about redemption and hope, not darkness. Please don; t take these lyrics in a darksense. There is hope and hurting yourself is not the answers to your problems." 11. Already Dead - at first I thought that this song was about killing the person you care about most but now I reallize that that is not the meaning of the song at all. Infact this is a fairly decent song but I feel that it kind of drags. Shane's story: "This song was written in the middle of read ing the novel 'The Lovely Bones' by Alice Sebold. It's an amazing book and I encourage everyone to read it. I was about 3/4 of the way through the book when I went on a trip to Paris to visit some familly I have there. I forgot to bring the book and I was so into it I couldn't stop thinking about it. I started writing some lyrics and wrote this song. If you read the book it is interesting because the ending of the book didn't turn out the way I thought it would. So some of the lyrics are kind of the opposite of what happens in the book." 12. Three Hours Back - this is one of my favorite songs on the album because of the great guitar solos and bass solo, oulstanding lyrics and the controlled screaming. Shane's story: "This was written during a 7-week tour we did when I was extremely burnt out and tired of being on the road and had come down with pnemonia. Sometimes your on tour, a week can feel like a month, escpecially when you're sick like I was. You start to get homesick, and almost go crazy to the point you start questioning the things you love. This song is purely written on how I felt that one day on the tour." 13. Call It Karma - I'm getting sleepy from typing so much so late so sorry if it gets sloppy from here. Any who, Call It Karma really stands out from the rest of the songs because it changes half way through the song and has a lot of joy in it. Shane's story: "This is probibly my favorite song on the record. This song is another double meaning. although less obvious than 'My Heroine'. The song in the forefront is about getting away form a bad relationship in your life that is hard to walk away from because of the comfort or the time. However, it's also talking about the band, and how at times I wonder weather all the trouble to go on tour, being away from your loved ones is worth it. Listen to the song and listen to it with both subjects in mind. I think you'll find that the meaning of the lyrics really jumps out at you. The title of the song came from a place in Costa Mesa, CA (the city where we recorded our album) called Native Foods, which has a bunch of sayings in all of the parking spaces. Walking by one day I saw "Call It Karma" and decided to call the song that. I think it fits perfectly. The last words of the song are very hopeful, and impotant ot understand that this record ends off on a message of positivity. No matter what happens, you need to accept it, and learn from it." 14. Rodeo Clown - this song is the bonus track on the the exteded version of the CD so some of you may not have this song. It was origionally writtena nd performed my th e band Lifetime and I think that the guitars are fair but all in all I think that it's jsut a very active version of "Wish I could Forget You" from "When Broken Is Easily Fixed" not he best song. Shane's story: "This is a cover song of one of our favorite bands called Lifetime. This song is off the 'Hello Bastards' album, which came out in 1995, and is noe of the most influential hardcore/punk albums of all time. Without this band, pretty much none of the bands in our genre would exsist. I strongly encourage you to pick up Hello Bastards, as well as 1997's 'Jersey's Best Dancers'. Both of these records changed my life. also, Lifetime recently got back together, so check out their new record and go see them on tour." All notes about lyrics written by Shane Told.
Overall Impression — 10
This is and amazing album and Silverstein is a very hard working band and one of the few screamo bnds I can still listen too (after I started to not like Underaoth) but it's worth buying agian after seeing as though I've practically bought it twice. The first itme was the origional version and now I bought this one. Also check out my tabs for the album, I'm working on the guitar for the albuma and my bass one is out their so thanks.