Silverstein Runs It Back with “Redux” Album
When you’re not only veterans, but champions of an entire scene, it’s hard enough to continue to produce material to appease all generations of your fanbase. Silverstein have been atop the Post-Hardcore mountain since their debut album “When Broken is Easily Fixed” blew up in 2003, and have somehow kept their listeners happy ever since; all the while adding newer listeners each album cycle. So what’s the secret recipe? For Silverstein, it’s literally just… GET BETTER. Musically, Silverstein has held true to their sound, vibe, and structure. I have yet to pop in a Silverstein album and not get exactly what I expect. The difference? They do the same thing better and better every time.
For one, Lead Vocalist Shane Told’s voice has aged like Apple stocks. In my many experiences seeing Silverstein live, Shane has only sounded better and better each time. His air control has improved and gotten stronger. His screams are richer, fuller, and yet somehow even more pronounced and comprehendible. His cleans are more accurate, deliberate, and sustained as well. In 2019, I would trust Shane Told to narrate the encyclopedia and come away with a chart topper. Yet when I heard Silverstein was re-recording 12 of their biggest songs off their first 10 years of work (4 albums for those counting), I wasn’t so sure.
How do you improve on a winning formula? Silverstein isn’t a band that has had to evolve their sound or style to fit the times, and never has been. No two albums sound the same, and yet, every album is explicitly and undoubtedly Silverstein from front to back. So in my head I’m thinking “Ok, best case scenario it comes out sounding pretty much the same and I’m not upset. Worst case scenario… they do too much”.
Then April 12th 2019 came around. The preorder found it’s way into my mailbox, along with a rad sticker set now on the back of my laptop as I type this. Packaging: check. Looks good. Inside booklet: Check. They even added information under each song. Tracklist: Check. Big check that is. The 12 songs handpicked and independently released by the Toronto band are enough to make any fan happy. Since parts of me still enjoy the nuances of physical media, I held off on firing up my phone and listening. The CD hit the car stereo on a long ride, and I was in. 10 years of nostalgia dialed up and remastered…
Track one brings it right off the bat. “Smashed Into Pieces” jumps in with both feet and IMMEDIATELY I know that these post-hardcore wizards pulled it off again. The update in production and technology speak throughout the whole album, but for the earlier of the tracks remastered it really does wonders. The drums hit on the bullseye. Every ting and tap of the cymbals rings through regardless of how big or small. Every note of the tremolo picking shines clearly. And then there’s 16+ years of vocal evolution come full circle in Shane’s remastered vocals. I can’t say enough about the re-recorded singing and I won’t try.
Ok, so somehow Silverstein took an early classic and made it better by just being Silverstein. I’m surprised and not surprised. “Smile in your Sleep” powers in as the second track and the real test begins. Discovering the Waterfront has already been remastered once… so now what? Ladies and gentlemen (and everyone self-identified in-between and outside) I’m here to inform you that the formula works over and over again. The height of “Smile in your Sleep” where “YOU SMILE” is belted over and over comes in even heavier and clearer. The goosebumps are inevitable.
Track three… “American Dream” off Shipwreck in the Sand. By this time in the band’s career, Shane had really hit his stride vocally, so I was especially curious to see how he handled improving on an already matured tone. And again… the formula WORKS. The entire album really shows off the entire band’s talent by removing a lot of the programmed effects and pedals. Clearer, crisper guitar tones mix over better tracked drums and deeper, more pronounced bass. You hear more of the instruments themselves through layering.
“Bleeds No More”, “My Heroine”, “Vices”, and “My Sword Versus Your Dagger” follow for tracks 4, 5, and 6 and 7. If this were an original album, you can’t convince me that The 1-6 opening of this isn’t untouchable. If you’ve never taken the time to listen to Silverstein, but enjoy the hardcore stylings of the bands that followed after them (read: probably inspired by them)… give Redux a once through. By the halfway point, you’ll be hooked and scrambling to find their next tour stop near you.
To go through every song would be disrespectful to you, the reader. Why? Because you already know what that would look like. THE FORMULA WORKS. It worked front to back, and back to the front again. “If You Could See My Soul”, “Giving Up”, “Still Dreaming (Acoustic version)”, and “Red Light Pledge” close out the rotation. If you’re familiar with Silverstein’s work, no doubt you’re smiling right now because you know that’s a stacked roster of bangers to populate a remastered album.
Silverstein does close out Redux in style, with “Call It Karma”. I should reiterate that my expectations for what I was getting were neutral at best. What I’m left with is 12 versions of songs I’ve already loved… that I love even more now. Are the originals ruined forever? No… it’s not like that. None of us can ever take away what Silverstein did in the first 10 years of their career. Silverstein, however, is not prepared to let us forget it either. “Call It Karma” circa Redux is the best of everything a fan could love about Silverstein. The guitar tones are more natural, and yet, true to the original sound. Shane doesn’t sound like he’s reaching to hit the tricky notes and sustains. His pronunciation is better. The bass tone is archetypical and very much what you’d order in a 2019 hardcore work.
If Michael Jordon could go back at the height of his prime and revisit his already historical games and moments, how would he make them even better? Could he? If Da Vinci had a chance to rework the Mona Lisa… how would he make it even greater? How would you expect to take something great and make it even greater… even if done by master hands? The easy answer? Ask Silverstein. Redux cracked top 50 on 8 different Billboard charts, including #4 on the Hard Rock chart, and #7 on both Independent and Internet Sales charts. A completely self-lead, and self-released effort using material that has been out for a span of two, almost into three decades… and it BANGED. I haven’t changed the CD in my car since Redux went in, and it’ll take a serious effort by another band or artist to change that.
Check out the remaster of “Call It Karma” below and set your ears up with a date with the full Redux album if you enjoy it.