Silverstein - This Is How the Wind Shifts
Record Label: Hopeless
Release Date: February 5, 2013
Here we are, in 2013, and Silverstein has released their 7th studio album (One release being covers and songs that did not make it to other albums). This is an impressive feat for any band. Like clockwork, they have released an album every 2 years since 2003. I have a great deal of respect for this aspect of the band alone (Over 5 years, Streetlight Manifesto, since your last original album? Really?). What's even more impressive is that out of all these albums, not one of them comes across as a rushed mess. Certainly, some albums are better than others, but all of them can hold their own as a good album. Their previous album, "Rescue," can be considered one of their weaker releases, while the album before that “A Shipwreck in the Sand”, their concept album, is probably one of their strongest. According to vocalist Shane Told, "This Is How the Wind Shifts" is another concept album and was written in a similar manner to "A Shipwreck in the Sand", and it proves to be just as strong if not stronger.
As soon as you press play on the album, you are thrown into heavy and energetic guitar and vocals that flow into an extremely catchy verse. Get used to this pattern, because it's one the entire album follows, and I for one, love it. The band transitions between melodic guitar and vocals to heavy guitar riffs and screams smoothly and flawlessly. The lyrics are conceptual but if you listen to the album in its entirety, Told does a great job of painting a complex but interesting story in your mind. More on that later but first, the basics. The vocals are strong, with a lot of great harmonies throughout the album. The screams are not amazing, but considering that the vocals are coming from one person, one can be a little more forgiving. Paul Marc Rousseau, the new lead guitarist, doesn't bring anything new to the band musically. He successfully captures the Silverstein sound, seamlessly working his way into the band. On the other hand, a new guitarist should attempt to make his mark on his first album instead of blending in to his predecessors work, and nothing seems very different on this album. The bass is loud enough to hear, which is more than you can say about a lot of other hardcore bands these days, so it is appreciated. Last but not least, the drums. It has become strange to NOT hear double bass drums in hardcore music, but Silverstein drummer Paul Koehler likes to keep it old school with just one. At times it sounds like he may be using double bass, however it is neither overpowering or highly noticeable. While I love double bass drums, I have to say it is refreshing to hear a heavier band not use them.
Lastly I wanted to quickly come back to the story aspect of the album, and I will try to explain this as best as I can. You can split the album into two sections. Tracks 1-7 are songs written from one perspective, while tracks 8-14 are written about the same events, but from the “other” perspective. The titles even match up with their opposite track: Track 1. "Stand Amid The Roar"- Track 8 "In a Place of Solace", Track 2. "On Brave Mountains We Conquer" - Track 9 "In Silent Seas We Drown", etc. Some of the songs even tie together so you could even attempt to listen to the album 1,8,2,9,3,10, and so on, and the story the album is trying to tell might become a little clearer. Overall This Is How the Wind Shifts is a very good album and a strong addition to the consistent catalog of Silverstein albums.
Stand out Tracks: “Stand Amid The Roar”, “Massachusetts”, “A Better Place”, “To Live and To Lose”.