The Silver Bayonets – Braveface – Album Review
Welcome BACK boys! Holy shit!
The Silver Bayonets sound more determined than ever before & ready to make their mark a permanent one out there in the independent music-scene with the grippingly energetic melodic-rock energy on their new album Braveface, officially being released on April 13th this year.
I knew to expect VOLUME on this record and they certainly didn’t disappoint. After checking out previous singles “Constant” and “Low” back in 2016, the lasting impression left was that The Silver Bayonets know their way around the ol’ distortion pedals & how to create riotous anthems and BIG songs that have multiple access points for listening ears to find their way into what this band is up to. Nearly two full years have passed since then…in fact, both those previous singles, even though they finally made their way across the pond to us here in Canada in 2016 all the way from the UK, were actually from their debut record called The Pain Inside Your Head. If you read about The Silver Bayonets in the bio section of their main site, you’ll see that the some of the tunes on that record could date as far back as 2014 when they started shipping out demos…or perhaps even earlier as they formed in 2012. The main point I’m trying to establish here, is that there has been six years or so worth of growth & evolution in the sound of The Silver Bayonets; and after listening to Braveface in-full, it’s audibly clear that every move they’ve been making along the way has been a strong step in the right direction.
The pulsing bass from Ross Guy starts up the opening track “Real Like You” for a moment or two before the thundering drums from Enzo Cuticchia and scorching guitars from Kabir Sheikh join in quickly. Within what seems like mere moments, the UK-based band is off & running at a ripping pace, stuffing the verse and chorus of “Real Like You” with solid doses of melody balanced perfectly with their wildly entertaining brand of rock crunching away at the speakers in all its distortion-laden glory. The verse is good, the chorus is great, and I felt like they still really left a lot of room for this album to grow. They immediately up the ante even further, springing into “Storms Inside” to make a real statement with these two cuts back-to-back to begin the experience. Make no mistake – these guys are here to ROCK!
Specifically, rock with energy and melody dripping from every chord they let ring and every move they make on the microphones in front of them. Lead-singer Kabir absolutely CRUSHES “Storms Inside” with both Ross & Enzo providing the backup vocals along the way in the most pivotal parts of the hooks – but if we’re giving out the awards for what makes a track stand-out, you gotta hand it straight-up to the writing & resulting combined performance. The structure of “Storms Inside” has that genuine electrifying energy that you’re looking for in Rock/Pop – keeping the sound satisfyingly crunchy and raising the stakes to the next level through explosive pop-influenced hooks that deliver the memorable impact this cut deserves. Single-worthy? Hell yes it is! “Storms Inside” is certainly an early highlight on Braveface and it continues to remain one of the album’s wildest rides and most memorable tunes from throughout the set – easily one of my favorites.
“Time Machines” dials back the intensity a bit, in a good way, leading to a smooth jam that will likely appeal to many an ear out there. Real credit to Enzo for kicking all the ass back there from the throne – his drumbeats get super inventive on this third cut and he adds a ton of versatility to their sound on this cut. The way the guitars from Kabir chime in to this tune, the bass rhythm from Ross – I mean, this song is damn near ALL hook, proving that even at a more mid-tempo, you still wanna take-in every second. When “Time Machines” moves into its first full minute, The Silver Bayonets shift gears, crank up their melody, energy, amplifiers – and they just go off like a rocket…errr…”Time Machines” I suppose – you get the idea, they detonate and put the power where it needs to go to fuel the chorus of this ride. Some of my favorite vocals from Kabir on this cut, one of my favorite breakdowns that they put into their tunes, one of my favorites for all the instrumentation concerned & the incredible tones they achieve. Structurally sound, the three-piece really nail all the parts of “Time Machines” down tightly.
“Inside The Jar” slows the energy on Braveface into a spacious atmosphere that shows this band can do soft just as well as they can hard. There’s still a seriously gripping, slow-burning intensity that runs through “Inside The Jar” that keeps The Silver Bayonets captivating to listen to, even in this more tenderized setting. Plus, at this point already on the record, it’s pretty safe to say that we’re learning to expect that the band doesn’t just lay all their cards on the table at once – there’s always an ace up their sleeve and a way to expand a song further in whichever direction they choose, which seems to be UP. Loved the tones on the drums as Enzo comes stomping in past the ninety-second mark and the near whisper that Kabir takes to the microphone there. Dude’s got a lot of character in his voice…I think he’s also shown a lot of growth in his tone & control in between the last record and this one. Guitar-wise, don’t even get me started – I love what Kabir brings to The Silver Bayonets sound. “Inside The Jar” finds its way through its subtle & gentle beginnings and into a glorious finale you’ll certainly remember.
Sprinting out of the starting blocks on “World Slow Down” – can someone out there explain to me how we’re supposed to take this insight & advice from The Silver Bayonets in slowing anything down while at the same time they come out gunning and running on this tune? Ain’t nothing about this cut going slow – the crew is at their power-punk maximum on “World Slow Down.” With the exception of a quick breakdown in the middle of the cut, these three make a clear commitment to turn up the heat on Braveface again, thrashing and kicking out a powerful jam on “World Slow Down” that attempts to scorch the earth with its energy while contrasting that with the notion that this whole floating rock we’re on could stand to chill out for a moment or two in the lyricism. Really bright sound to this whole track…SLICKLY placed right in the middle of the record where many an album can sag, and instead, The Silver Bayonets crank the energy through the roof on the chorus of “World Slow Down” with massive background vocals playing a big role in the main hooks. They’re letting loose here for sure and stoking the fire continuously along the way, transitioning between different parts of the song perfectly and saving the best of the fireworks for the end, right before they deconstruct it into feedback, over & out.
If I’m being as entirely honest with you all as I always am, I could make a verifiable argument with valid points to support ANY of the tunes from the first half of Braveface becoming a single. Everything I’ve heard has massive amounts of hooks that connect and their execution is seriously at the best it’s ever been. As they begin the second-half of the record with “Sour” – it becomes pretty damn apparent that they have no intentions of dropping the standards they’ve set for themselves, starting up the next set of five tunes with a giant anthem that will certainly stick in your head. Highly memorable – you can practically hear the crowd already singing along with the chorus hooks of “Sour” – and I’ve gotta say, for a mid-tempo tune, The Silver Bayonets have really beaten the odds and delivered another incredible tune here. “Sour” MIGHT creep up on you like it did with me, that first spin through the record I noticed it and certainly could hear the potential it would have to grab the attention of the people out there – but it was really on those subsequent listens that I came to acknowledge just how deep of an impact this cut could make. Each time I heard it, I was more convinced this was a truly essential tune on Braveface. “Sour” is an emotionally powerful tune that hits home with its internal examination and how it relates to the struggle with relationships, life, & time that the lyricism presents. Great ideas, stunning execution – “Sour” is one hell of an open-vein and access point into the mainline of a strong downer-power-ballad.
On a personal level, “How We Heal” is one of the most satisfying and meaty tunes on the entire record – which is how I know this particular track, probably isn’t the single to put out there. OH! SELF-BURN! It’s true though…I’d describe “How We Heal” as one of the most interesting cuts on Braveface without question, but I can also acknowledge that ‘interesting’ does not always a single make, ya feel me? That being said – there is much more to life as a musician and as a band than just writing a single-worthy tune – the last thing you want to do is burn people out or not give them something with real substance to come back to. That’s certainly not a knock on the first half of this record either, don’t get me wrong, you can have great single-worthy tunes of substance, just like The Silver Bayonets clearly have here – I’m just arguing that there are supporting cuts on every record you can think of that help those songs stand-out and establish their impact. Quite often, once you’ve spun an album several times and absorbed those more easily digestible hooks, it’s songs like “How We Heal” that keep us coming back long after.
You can hear them shout-out the album’s name along the way as they transition through the ebb & flow of the energy in “Fake,” fueled by the intensity of the rhythm section of Ross & Enzo. The pair provide a seriously reliable backbone on “Fake” that allows Kabir to get wildly imaginative & inventive with his guitar work, which goes on to produce a real highlight here in the solo moments and main riffage. It’s got hooks in the instrumentation that speak just as strongly as the vocals do – LISTEN to the way they rip into this cut and how quickly the catchiness kicks-in. Enzo is beasting it up back there once again, but make no mistake, Ross and Kabir are locked in-step with his every move, ready to turn on a dime and hit the switch to rock at any moment. There’s a fantastic fusion of genuine tension and intensity that makes “Fake” a seriously gripping track to listen to. But you already know that by now – you pushed play up top because deep down in your soul you knew that was the right thing to do, not for me, not for the band, but for YOU personally to enrich your earholes. Good on ya…kinda self-serving in a sense, but I’m sure we can all forgive you for it.
Like I was saying though, “Fake” is a good choice to put out there to entice people into the record while still leaving them plenty of options like “Storms Inside” and “Suffocating Me” for later on. Right boys? RIGHT BOYS? I’m sure they’re picking up what I’m laying down here. I’m truly impressed with just how spoiled for choice these guys are on Braveface – there are SO MANY tunes that could easily entice people into listening to the rest of the record. Most importantly, proving that at track NINE they’re still absolutely KILLIN’ IT, when you DO get into the rest of the album via whatever song pulled you in, you’re going to completely love what you find. “Suffocating Me” has it all in my opinion…it probably takes the blue ribbon and wins the prize for me…the instrumentation and energy is just OFF THE CHARTS on this cut. HUGE guitars, excellent bass-lines and solid pace – The Silver Bayonets use space to their advantage on “Suffocating Me” and spring-off the silence into enormous hooks in the chorus that are pure awesome. Kabir – brother-man, you are an absolute HERO on the vocals of this tune…it’s no joke of a song and what he’s singing takes serious power, tone, control and mad-skill to pull off – not only does he nail every moment, he can pretty much take this performance to the bank and cash it. He’s had very few even remotely questionable moments along the way if any at all, but there’s zero-doubt about the highlight performance he puts on throughout “Suffocating Me” – dude gets a virtual high-five from me. If it wasn’t for the AMAZING way that The Silver Bayonets, as a BAND, completely nail the middle of this tune with beautifully flowing melody streaming from the speakers, Kabir would have stolen the show on his own here perhaps – but c’mon people, when you HEAR just how incredible the musicianship becomes from about 2:20-ish to the four-minute mark, it’ll pretty much blow your fuckin’ mind. The boys crank it back into full gear and beyond, ripping through this melodic barnburner’s chorus one more time and the soaring grind of the guitars as they exit this cut and head into the final tune, “Domino.”
I mean…I pretty much rest my case people…I could tell you that “Domino” could just as easily be a single, just like the vast majority of these tunes have been already – The Silver Bayonets have absolutely REFUSED to let up! They will not relent, they will not surrender, they WILL rock right until the final moments of their very last song. I ain’t gonna lie to ya dear readers, dear friends – I expected a pretty decent experience from The Silver Bayonets based on what I’d heard last time around – but this…THIS exceeded every possible expectation I could have had. Talk about songwriting! Talk about evolution! Talk about HOOKS – they…are…EVERYWHERE on Braveface, no matter what song you play. Sound-wise, the ten tracks are perfectly cohesive and they ALL truly fit the record – THIS is how you get it done! “Domino” purely tops off what’s already been an incredibly enjoyable experience from beginning to end, leaving us on the clever & cunning hooks they’re capable of slipping into their style, sound, & songwriting. “Domino” also displays one other key element of The Silver Bayonets that I’ve LOVED throughout this whole record along the way, which is that EVEN with the amount of massively accessible hooks they’ve created, they’ve sincerely made time for their musicianship and instrumentation to shine just as much along the way. Basically they’ve ensured that not only will the everyday music-fan enjoy what they’ve done here – they’ve also created a record that full-time musicians will truly respect.
There’s not a single song on this record I wouldn’t happily play over and over and over and over again – Braveface has The Silver Bayonets on a whole new plain of their existence and sounds like a record that could genuinely launch them into the most rewarding & most successful years of the band’s career.
Download their lead-single “Fake” and stay tuned on the details surrounding the release of Braveface by The Silver Bayonets by visiting their main site at: https://www.musicglue.com/the-silver-bayonets/ – and SPOILER ALERT…if you check out their posting at Facebook from March 9th…you might just be able to find a way to get yourself a copy before the official release date…just sayin’!
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