Longevity is a rare feat for any band, especially one rooted in a foundation of punk and hardcore. Aggressive music is often fueled by youthful fire, and sustaining a career without completely abandoning that urgent sound is almost impossible for most bands. But what’s possible for “most bands” has never been a concern for post-hardcore pioneers Silverstein. Throughout the course of their 17-year career, from Ontario basement shows to touring the world and selling over a million records, Silverstein has always managed to be completely comfortable in their own skin while never being afraid to challenge themselves. This perfect balance marks the band’s eighth full- length, Dead Reflection—an album that proves Silverstein still has plenty of fire left.
Silverstein have released an album every odd year since their 2003 debut, When Broken Is Easily Fixed, and that drive is paramount to why the band remains one of post-hardcore’s most relevant and influential acts. This consistency shows an uncommonly clear path of growth from album to album as the band honed the aggressive-to-melodic contrast that became their signature sound. Dead Reflection marks a sharp jump in that evolution: the band pushed themselves harder than ever before, resulting in an album the takes all of Silverstein’s strengths—pummeling riffs, explosive dynamic shifts, and huge, anthemic choruses—and ramps up the intensity. Guitarist Paul Marc Rousseau co-produced Dead Reflection with Derek Hoffman, leading to a level of collaboration with which band had never experimented before. After years of creating and touring, the members of Silverstein have each become accomplished musicians in their own right while still summoning the same unbridled ferocity that marked the band’s early days, and it’s this fusion that makes Dead Reflection feel so vital.
Vocalist Shane Told has always been a master of taking his darkest times and channeling them into compelling songwriting, and Dead Reflection ups the ante as the singer documents his most troubled year. The tumultuous end of a long relationship sent Told into a self-destructive spiral that left him isolated and forced to confront who he truly was with everything stripped away. All of the positivity that had previously come so easily suddenly felt put-on, like a costume that never quite fit, and as the people closest to him were all entering new phases of life with new responsibilities, the singer found himself feeling more alone and nihilistic than ever. In the end it was Silverstein, the one constant in Told’s life, that brought him back from the brink. With the prospect of writing a new album on the horizon, he threw himself into the process, fully exploring the bleak narrative he was living out. Dead Reflection became a sort of “What-if?” version of Told’s life, a cautionary tale urging listeners to find out what really matters and challenge their own masks before it’s too late. Writing proved to be as cathartic as it was harrowing, and slowly Told began to feel the weight of the past year lifting; Silverstein had been there for him just when he needed it most.
Dead Reflection is an album that couldn’t exist without everything that’s come before it, a culmination not just of Silverstein’s sonic growth, but also the personal journeys entangled in the band’s career. Longevity was never the objective, but that drive to deliver their absolute best, no matter what the cost, is exactly why the band remains at the top of their game after almost two decades. For Silverstein there is no settling, no stopping, and they give nothing less than everything.