When Broken Is Easily Fixed


Victory Records, 2003


REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson


I'd really like to give this CD a glowing review, but I can't. I'd like to say I have the answer, the key, to what makes this band ugly to my ears. I have been listening to hardcore for many years. The fusion of metal and punk into the genre I call hardcore has often yielded great results. Bands like Pink Daffodils and Knives Out are excellent aggressive. The hardcore vocals are tolerable to the degree that they are contributing to the song and enhancing the song by contributing to the song. If they are the only vocal color in the song, then the music is typically aggressive the entire song.

What Silverstein is doing on their latest release is walking the line between hardcore and pop rock. Vocalist Shane Told is a talented vocalist, parts of opening track "Smashed Into Pieces" prove that. He has a decent range and doesn't try to oversing. The problem, though, is that the band slips into this 'call and answer' section on the first track where he alternates between screaming and singing, "You made me swear." It's a weak hook to build a song upon.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

But even when the hook is strong, there's something that just doesn't click. "Giving Up" has a catchy introductory drumbeat and an interesting melody. Told starts the song, singing and everything is sounding good. Then they couldn't decide how to continue the good vibe of the song so they turned to Told and said, "Hey, that screaming thing, try that." So he does and the song goes down the tubes. It just doesn't work for this material. So, when Told screams his guttural scream at the 1:52 mark, telling the listener "I've laid myself to sleep tonight./ I know you've played out everything in your mind," I'm just not satisfied that he had to scream those lyrics. The rest of his vocals are understandable and clear.

Now, I understand the lyrics of this release are meant to be depressing and written from the mind of a broken heart. Told is given at least partial credit, if not full credit, for writing the lyrics on this release. He has obviously been through some tough times and Silverstein is, obviously, his outlet for dealing with the injustices with his life. And I understand that the band thought that with Told screaming, his anquish would come across better.

But what Silverstein doesn't seem to understand is that they are a talented band. They have written above average hooks, in spots peaking over the edge to brilliant material. In the big picture, though Silverstein just can't get a good foothold. The violin in "Wish I Could Forget You" is airy and serves its purpose, but it can't detract from the focus on the boring, repetitive guitar riff. Drummer Paul Koehler pounds out a great backbeat on "Bleeds No More" but he can't save the song from being a waste of time when Told starts screaming.

I want to be clear: Silverstein could have been my favorite band on Victory Records. There are times on this CD when I have my foot tapping, my air drums going and my air guitar tuned up. In the big picture, though, I know Silverstein will get filed away into my CD collection of 4000. Maybe in a year, I'll pull it out to see if Told's vocals sound any better to me. I'm not optimistic.

Rating: D

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2003 Paul Hanson and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Victory Records, and is used for informational purposes only.