Marking their first album since 2004, Fairhaven (Equal Vision Records) by SILENT DRIVE oscillates between classic post-hardcore, emo, screamo and even some gritty hard rock, and comes as one of the most underrated comebacks this year. Featuring members of Bane, Drowningman, Ink Cartridge Funeral and more noteworthy bands, the band was one of those early 00s post-hardcore acts that we certainly wished did more back then, but this new offering sees them reverting back to full-form whilst still experimenting, evolving their sound and widening their stride. What a quality return!
To celebrate, we asked the band to give us their perspectives on each and every track from the album and we’ve got a bunch of insightful commentaries, that we’re pleased to share with you below.
Dearly Beloved is about realizing you are in a situation where there is no good outcome, only pain, and frustration. You feel yourself circling into an endless loop that replays itself repeatedly. The song represents the disappointment of looking back at how much time and energy was wasted arguing with someone that can’t be changed. This song is kind of a classic juxtaposition of first section choppy/fast/aggressive and second half slower with a soaring vocal melody and arpegio based lead line at the end.
Prescription For Death
Prescription For Death is Zach’s reaction to seeing a couple in line at a hospital pharmacy in a very public argument. The couple bickered whether or not their relationship was worth saving. Zach listened from behind them in line as they listed all the negatives of their marriage. They decided to call it quits right then and there, still standing in line. As the woman stepped up to the cashier, she suddenly went into cardiac arrest. With all the doctors and nurses preoccupied, the husband was left to deliver CPR. The wife looked into her husband’s eyes, the life leaving her body, and realized that this was the man she was meant to be with. She could not be resuscitated and died minutes later. This event has always played out in Zach’s head over and over.
I remember writing the main verse riff for this song as kind of a knee jerk reaction to the delicate, thoughtful and more precise riffs on Love Is Worth It. The feeling was, let’s be a bull in a china shop. And that main riff led to a little bit of explosion on the chorus… but essentially it was a hamfisted kinda groove. Then Zach came along, with his great melody, harmony and mix of screaming and singing and really elevated my meathead experiment to that of a really cool and thoughtful song full of character. He ruined my idea, and I’ll never forgive him.
Impossible Dream first and foremost is a great song vocally. Well crafted melody with well placed harmony for effect. I remember being in the practice space jamming with the band and this naturally wrote itself. Zach always sings with the song while we are writing it with just a melody idea in his head, so by the time that practice was over we basically had the entire idea written minus the lyrics.
This song is also great exhibition of the rhythm section. The verse riff on guitar (and chorus) is kind of a subdued accompaniment part for the vocals, but the drums and bass carry it with so much movement and subtle action.
The song itself goes from minor verses to major choruses, which is always a cool feel, and the bridge shows just enough aggression to make this song feel like a nice complete idea.
Lyrically the song is a bit odd for us because Zach does’t usually go the “positive outlook route” but this song has a glimmer of hope to it.
This song is a song that was written when Silent Drive was a band getting billed with much heavier bands due to the fact that we were in heavier bands previously to Silent Drive. The bands we played with were all amazing to us, but the kids in the audience, not so much. They wanted heavier and it was like playing in the Blues Brothers bar scene at some points. So this is the F-you to them. Musically the song is built on that big fat opening groove by Pete and Dave, and the attitude of that sort of carries through to all other parts of the song. The guitar riff under the verse is almost like a response to see who can lean harder into that groove. The attitude also spills into the lyrics which have kind of pissed off and sneering vibe. And that vibe is nicely funneled into the chorus and bridge.
This song was born from a long ride in a van where Dave was teaching Bobby , the drummer of BANE, a drum pattern that he had written that was a shuffle beat full of ghost notes. I like rhythm too, so as they talked about it for like an hour, I learned how to tap out the beat, and when we got off tour, I programmed the beat and wrote the main verse riff to abandon ship. Often times when I pick up a guitar to write, Im not sure where it’s gonna end up, but this is one of those rare occasions where I had an aim to write a flowy, note heavy riff that didn’t feel distracting, and ended up being musical. The chorus is really just a natural extension of the verse and the bridge is maybe the proggiest thing Silent Drive will ever write!
Peanut and The Radio Flyer
For Peanut and The Radio Flyer Zach was tasked with writing lyrics that would fit a song with guitar parts unlike anything else we had done. It had to be sweet or sad and he chose to make it a very sweet song.
The guitar is just one of those parts that I wrote a long time ago, and would just play on occasion whenever I had an acoustic, or a guitar with a nice clean sound in my hands. The concept of driving force behind that riff is basically an excercise in tapping double stops with the left hand. I think most writing guitarists have those… just like little riffs that you write and you kick around for years? Just me? Oh well.
Unspoken Life is about coming to grips with losing a friend in a car accident. They were a leader, and we followed them. We had to fight with what happens when your inspiration is removed from the equation in an instant… It creates chaos in your world. You find yourself directionless and at drift, but you realize you must lead the way forward. The riffs for unspoken life were also written in the spirit of being more straightforward, again kind of a let’s do something different than Love Is Worth It. The claps really tie the whole song together, see if you can find them ;-)
This song is real brooding affair. It’a about a relationship gone terribly wrong after starting off so hopeful. The main riff was written by Pete, so it has a different angle from most of our tunes from the getgo. It’s probably the darkest song on the album, and really catches the mood of the subject matter of the lyrics perfectly. On the recording, guitar wise, one of my favorite moments is that insane feedback fall off that happens at the break… it happened as I was reaching down to turn a pedal off or something and as soon as it happened I asked Jay Maas (producer/engineer) if he had caught it, and was stoked to hear that he did. The heavy rhythmic stuff at the break really is the perfect way to climax that moody beginning, and I love how it explodes.
Blue Harvest is the song that almost didn’t make the record. The arrangement and lyrics were a real challenge for some reason and ended up being one of our most straight forward “hardcore like” songs. On guitar this song is a blast to play, the opening dusting off some old speed chops that Silent Drive doesn’t often need. The verse is kind of a cool call and response setup, and the chorus breaks into some more straightforward rock to let Zach stretch his legs and not have to dance around any severe riffage. The ‘mosh’ part at the end is a cool concept that I had where it’s a heavy part where the guitar hasn’t taken the lead, the bass is the one pushing the mosh and the guitar is just framing it with some dissonant buzziness.
God vs I
This is one of those mammoth songs, for us, anyways. It’s heavy in subject matter, it spans a few different takes on learning of the horrible news that a close friend has been given a terminal diagnosis. Zach came to me with the basic riff of the song and lyrics already fairly worked out, which is often one of the last things to be finalized…It was something that he needed to write and really kicked off the re-energized the band to finish the record at a time where things had slowed down.
One interesting thing when putting this together is that I crafted the “mosh” riff after “let the f@cking battle begin” to the rhythm of zachs vocal line. We originally had a more repetitive chuggy part and I kept hearing his vocal line as the singular attack pattern there. So I grabbed a whammy pedal and got to work.
I know is also about our friends terminal bout with cancer. But I know was more of a retrospect on his journey, as opposed to the focus on the fear and shock of the original diagnosis, like God vs I is.
I had the chords and general fingerpicking pattern for the main riff kicking around in my head for a little while… with no intention of using it on the album, really. Then one day, Zach was supposed to come over and work on the record with me at my house, and he had gotten a call that our friends prognosis had changed for the worse timewise, and he was gonna cancel with me and go be with him. That same night I was just reeling from the news and went into my work space and needed to make something… landed on this riff and explored it out.
Compositionally I thought that we should let the riff develop and keep things very simple. The whole song is really just two parts, in different dressings. Sometimes with droning repetition, the emphasis and meaning of the vocals really starts to carry more weight.