Silverstein – A Beautiful Place to Drown
Released: 6th March 2020
Shane Told // vocals
Paul Koehler // drums
Billy Hamilton // bass
Paul Marc Rousseau // guitar
Josh Bradford // guitar
Canada’s Silverstein have been a staple in alternative/heavy music since the early 2000’s and the band have a stack of classic tracks that defined everyone’s former emo selves. Lately, the band have been spreading themselves further musically past post-hardcore, and into punk rock territory, which is what we saw on 2017’s Dead Reflection. For their 10th studio release, Silverstein have brought on some very special guests in the music industry to help them in figuring out their latest musical progression on A Beautiful Place To Drown.
The record begins with punchy track ‘Bad Habits’, and this one is a fun, high-energy classic Silverstein track. The insane riff shred on this track is done by Aaron Marshalls from fellow Torontarian prog-metal act Intervals. It’s a massive start to the album, and it gets even bigger with ‘Burn It Down’. Featuring a cameo from everyone’s favourite Beartooth frontman, Caleb Shomo, this is as close as we’ll get to a studio version of “Silvertooth”. ‘Burn It Down’ is an explosive hit to your ears and I can guarantee you’ll wanna turn this up as loud as you fuckin’ can, especially on Caleb’s part. I think we can all agree that that man has no faults when it comes to his musical projects. ‘Where Are You’ is the first track that is pure Silverstein, and it’s a straight up alt-rock anthem. The vague “ooh-ooh’s” inbetween the chorus makes the track feel a little overproduced, making it sound like something you might hear from Good Charlotte, but it’s pretty enjoyable after a few spins.
‘Infinite’ channels the band’s earlier years, coated with soaring guitars and Shane’s alluring vocals. Underoath’s Aaron Gillespie lends his scream technique this time, which just adds to the classic Silverstein vibe the band are aiming for here. The band take five on the explosive riffs with ‘Shape Shift’, an eerie yet alluring insight into two toned personalities. Instrumentally, they’ve slightly toned down the decibels here, but Shane’s vocals are as alluring as ever, making for a hard rock ballad. The band ventures into new territory on ‘All On Me’, and what we’re getting is a full on alt-pop ballad; it’s like the band have done a complete 180 musically. The guitars are toned down low, a saxophone has been added over the bridge and it’s Silverstein’s attempt at a mainstream rock-inspired tune. It’s interesting, that’s for sure, and somewhat reminiscent of what The Amity Affliction experimented with on Misery.
“This isn’t love, this is madness” is a defining moment for A Beautiful Place To Drown. The explosive guitars return on ‘Madness’ as you’d sort of assume with a song by that name. This track hints a Bring Me the Horizon and Poppy collab (if that ever existed), but Silverstein and US rapper Princess Nokia have decided to nail it first. Now I’m not quite down with what the kids are listening to these days, so I’m not too familiar with Princess Nokia’s back catalogue. However, what she brings to ‘Madness’ is actually pretty cool. Her seductive raw vocals over the hardcore riff sounds like something you’d hear from alt-pop artist Poppy and I feel like if she had also sung the pre-chorus line “Over and over, we’re at it again…” the track could have been huge. However, it’s still a standout of the album, right up there with ‘Burn It Down’.
It’s pretty clear by now that Silverstein are keen to advance their music into more punk, rock territory with catchy hooks and melodies. ‘Say Yes’ sees the band jamming to infectious pop punk melodies, and this track echoes big Yellowcard vibes. Hell, at one point I might even mistake the vocals for William Ryan Key. But as an advocate of pop punk myself, I absolutely love this song. It’s a side of Silverstein we haven’t heard before, it’s nostalgically fresh and if they decided to play more songs like this, I would not be mad. But stop right there, for now. ‘Stop’ sees guitarists Paul Marc Rosseau and Josh Bradford smash the power riffs once more for an alternative hard rock anthem which feels more like familiar territory to us.
The band touches on emotive, pop punk territory once more on ‘September 14th’, but they’ve added their own spin towards the end, providing the listener with an equilibrium of the band’s past and present self. It’s a heartfelt, reflective track and one of the better lyrically written songs on this album. ‘Coming Down’ sees a kick drum beat lead into a highly infectious chorus that’ll have you tapping along to the beat. It’s a punky pop anthem you would be more inclined to hear from a band that’s more in touch with poppier hooks, like… Simple Plan, which leads us onto the final track of the album. It’s not hard to see why this was the only collaboration track that wasn’t released prior. Out all of the collabs on this record, ‘Take What You Give’ feels the furthest away from the Silverstein that most of us know. Simple Plan lead vocalist Pierre Bouvier lends his iconic voice on this light-hearted summer anthem driven by guitars, and in my opinion, a pop punk Silverstein could easily replace the void that Yellowcard left. I do wish Pierre featured more on this track though; like Princess Nokia on ‘Madness’, his cameo was a little short. His vocals would have sounded fantastic over the chorus in harmony with Shane’s.
A Beautiful Place To Drown shows us a different, more experimental Silverstein that we haven’t experienced before. The band are stepping away from their post-hardcore ways, swaying towards a hard rock/pop punk direction and it’s a great representation of the various influences the band has. While the record didn’t exactly break new ground on a bigger scale, it shows a great example of the camaraderie that exists within the alternative music community, which is as strong as ever with the abundant of collaborations, from Beartooth to Princess Nokia to Simple Plan. Silverstein are an extremely talented group of musicians, who’ll succeed in whatever genre-crossing musical project they tackle next.
Silverstein – A Beautiful Place To Drown tracklisting
1. Bad Habits ft. Intervals
2. Burn It Down ft. Caleb Shomo
3. Where Are You
4. Infinite ft. Aaron Gillespie
5. Shape Shift
6. All On Me
7. Madness ft. Princess Nokia
8. Say Yes
10. September 14th
11. Coming Down
12. Take What You Give ft. Pierre Bouvier
Check out Silverstein frontman Shane Told co-hosting this week’s episode of Wall of Sound: Up Against The Wall right here