October 9, 2015

Bands ‘Bad’ Albums: A Reflection

Welcome to the first edition of Bands Bad Albums: A Reflection
(Post-Hardcore Edition)

For criteria about what constitutes a ‘bad’ album, please reference this page.

Silverstein – Arrivals & Departures


Arrivals & Departures¬† debuted in 2007 as the follow up album to Silverstein’s smash hit, Discovering the Waterfront. The former album put Silverstein on the map as one of the best bands in this relatively new, rising genre.

So where did Arrivals & Departures go wrong?

Firstly, in terms of production, it’s too polished. The term ‘overproduced’ can be thrown around here, but the album does take a significant step forward in terms of production quality. This might not seem like a con, but for a band that derives a lot of its energy from its raw, emotional talent, it hinders it deeply. A lot of the musicianship seems very calculated and predictable. The drums are serviceable, but not flashy. The guitars overuse palm muting and the leads are lackluster in comparison to previous work. Shane Told’s clean vocals are much improved and a highlight of the album, but his screams seem disconnected and more forced than meaningful.

The biggest problem with this album is the timing of its release. In an interview on one of the band’s DVDs, Shane Told referenced how they wanted to make a ‘rock’ album and that’s what Arrivals & Departures was. Given Silverstein’s affinity for making concept albums and exploring new sounds, this album would have been better suited for a release in the last five years. Arrivals & Departures‘s release didn’t mesh well with audiences and their fan base suffered for it. Commercially, the album saw lots of radio airtime with the single, ‘If You Could See Into My Soul.’ Only after the release of their next album, Shipwreck In The Sand, did fans get back on board with the heavier guitars, increased screams, and a concept-driven narrative.

How does the album fare now?

Personally. I still love this album. As someone who always preferred Shane Told’s clean vocals over his screams, this album is a blessing. It is an incredibly accessible album as well for introducing newcomers to the genre. Tracks like ‘Still Dreaming‘ and ‘Here Today, Gone Tomorrow‘ are infused with melodic pop-punk melodies and the latter serving as a tribute to Bayside’s deceased drummer, John Holohan. ‘True Romance‘ is a haunting ballad featuring one of the band’s best guitar solos to date. One of the strongest elements of the album is its flow. Tracks transition smoothly and never outstay their welcome. Sure, it’s not reinventing anything, but it’s a structurally solid album filled with catchy hooks and new sounds.

If released today, would fans praise the album’s ‘rock’ concept, or would it be met with the same disappointment as it was in 2007?

Written by: Patrick Marion

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