Written by Ellis Heasley
Silence Equals Death – I’ll See You On The Other Side
Metallic hardcore from New Jersey, USA
Releases on September 10, 2021 via Upstate Records
While hardcore can take many forms nowadays, sometimes all you need is a record that deals in simple, straightforward ragers. If that’s what you’re looking for, then I’ll See You On The Other Side by New Jersey’s Silence Equals Death is absolutely ideal. The five-piece may not offer the most boundary pushing take on the genre, but they more than make up for it by writing rock solid and ferociously defiant songs with a strong melodic leaning. Clocking in at just over 33 minutes, their second full-length is a fiery, motivational record that will probably make you want to run through several brick walls.
The album comprises six brand new tracks and six others which have been remastered from last year’s Revolution Rising EP. Sometimes when bands do this sort of thing it can feel like two records that have been very obviously stitched together, but that’s not the case here. The songs taken from Revolution Rising aren’t all tacked on at the end or anything like that, and are instead dropped into their appropriate places over the course of the record. This works well, and means that unless you’ve already heard the first EP you’ll probably find it easy to enjoy this album as a complete work.
As you might expect from a record like this, I’ll See You On The Other Side is big on chugging riffs and crushing breakdowns. Silence Equals Death definitely have a strong metallic influence in their sound, and it’s on show right from the start with opening track “Switch”. This one is from the Revolution Rising EP, and makes for a chest-pounding early highlight. “Revolution Rising” itself is another stand out, with Hatebreed-esque riffing backing a characteristically furious call to arms from vocalist Scott Earth. The new songs don’t let the side down either, not least with sixth track “Signals”. This one’s arguably the best song on the record, hitting listeners with a ludicrously beefy main riff and a particularly earth-shattering closing breakdown.
One thing that’s perhaps more surprising about this record is that it’s actually quite varied for a band like this. Sure, it’s not exactly Turnstile, but there’s no denying Silence Equals Death have at least a few strings to their bow. For example, tracks like “Our Place In Time” and “Plague” are more fast-paced crossover thrashers, with the latter even boasting a quickfire wah-pedalled guitar solo. Elsewhere, songs like “Pass The Torch”, “Ghost” and “Keep Trying” see the band take their melodic capabilities as far as they’ll go for some of the album’s most rousing highlights. The variation is another move which pays off well for the band, with the overall effect ensuring that the record keeps listeners’ interest throughout, even if we have heard most of what it does before.
Turning to the album’s lyrical content, Silence Equals Death probably won’t win many prizes for nuance, but then again this is a hardcore record. For the most part, Earth opts for a Madball-esque world-beating attitude, his charismatic delivery calling for unity, perseverance and societal change. For example, third track “Our Place In Time” sees him proudly declare: (“I won’t deny my difference/And I won’t ever apologize/I’ll love who I want to love/It’s my life to decide”). Later, “Pass The Torch” calls for intergenerational unity with repeated cries of (“We’re standing side by side”), while penultimate track “Traitor” – one of those released in 2020 – takes thinly veiled aim at Donald Trump with (“You’re the one we mean traitor/You won’t close our eyes/When the walls come down we’ve got you in our sights”).
Realistically, I’ll See You On The Other Side is unlikely to be the album that wins over the hardcore skeptics. It’s not a game-changing record by any stretch of the imagination, but those who are already partial to the genre definitely shouldn’t miss it. There aren’t any weak tracks here, and the variation it does attempt is especially welcome in a scene where many bands so often stick exclusively to one lane. It will certainly make a fine addition to your workout playlists, and will probably be even more enjoyable if you’re lucky enough to see these songs performed live.