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Silverstein

This emo-metal band's sweet, melodious pop vocals are contrasted throughout most of its second album with hounds-of-hell throat shredding and barking. This is not new among modern metal acts, and the juxtaposition may once have implied a dichotomy of earnest naïveté and the barely-articulate beast within.

In the collective hands of the young quintet Silverstein, this device seems oddly unaffecting and verges on pretentiousness. Luckily, the band's extreme brand of rippling metal riffs--albeit leavened and focused with melodic, chiming chords--saves the day. The result is not unlike what one would imagine from an unholy alliance of Slayer and Fall Out Boy. The best example of this formula is found in the double-time drums and storm-trooping rhythms of "Fist Wrapped in Blood."

Considering the band's ultra-literate, introspective lyrics, one might guess that these clean-cut young men possess a self-important feeling that the world revolves around them, and they are the first in the history of music to interpret such sentiments as alienation and broken love through the hard-won wisdom of youth.

It would all feel terribly calculated if the band members didn't otherwise seem to so earnestly believe that they're experiencing the most important emotions in the cosmos. And Silverstein is banking on the fact that it's a feeling shared by many of their postadolescent fans.

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