The idea that one situation can changed dramatically by something as innocent as where the wind blows is a compelling one – something Silverstein explores thoroughly on its latest album, This Is How The Wind Shifts. I feel like Silverstein has been one of the more underappreciated bands out of the early-00’s post-hardcore boom. While many similar acts have either folded or released poor imitations of past work, the Ontario quintet continues to challenge their selves. This Is How The Wind Shifts is proof of that, as it’s the band’s finest effort in its decade-plus career.
Each song has a doppelganger; focusing on the same setting but diving into a different outcome based on anything simply changing course. Despite the somewhat complicated concept, the fourteen-track album never loses sight of creating the best music possible. Silverstein unleashes an array of passionate vocals, crushing breakdowns, and infectious melodies throughout; hitting all the sweet spots of long-time fans. “Stand Amid The Roar” kicks things off with a battle cry before Told’s screams rip away at the track. It’s classic Silverstein – one second Told and company are releasing some of the album’s heaviest stuff before transitioning into some of the catchiest moments. It sets the tone of This Is How The Wind Shifts.
There is a good mix of old and new for Silverstein here. “On Brave Mountains We Conquer” showcases the strides the band has made in its songwriting, while “Hide Your Secrets” will please Waterfront fans. The emotion displayed on “A Better Place” is unmatched, as its jarring breakdown takes the song to another level. The album’s concept works brilliantly with “Massachusetts” and “California” – both are contagious with energy and show off the band’s sense of melody. The softer, meditative interludes let you catch your breath and regroup; such as the gentle “Arrivals,” which features soothing lead vocals from new guitarist Paul Marc Rousseau.
But the best moments of This Is How The Wind Shifts is how Silverstein balances the softer moments with some its heaviest material to date. While aggressive songs like “In Silent Seas We Drown” are a great example of this (Told is downright impressive during the song’s bridge), it’s songs like “In a Place of Solace” and “To Live and Lose” that make This Is How The Wind Shifts the definitive Silverstein LP. The former is a dark, atmospheric number that begins with Told’s screams in the background as Paul Koehler’s enormous drumming paces the beginning. It’s an assertive track that slowly builds itself up before tearing everything down with a colossal breakdown – a stunning display in which the band flexes its collective muscle. “To Live and Lose” has similar ideas but they are used in a completely different matter. The track is highlighted by insistent, haunting riffs from Rousseau and Josh Bradford and Koehler’s funeral march drumming; setting up an ambient, eerie scene for Told’s vocals to take advantage of. These two songs show off the type of progression fans have been clamoring for, and Silverstein delivers in fantastic fashion.
There is a lot to like on This Is How The Wind Shifts, as Silverstein accomplishes the tricky balancing act of progressing your craft while retaining that sound that made the band into what it is today. While similar bands perish beside them, the band continues to evolve its sound. So no matter which way the scene shifts in the next few years, you can expect Silverstein to still be there.