It’s 2004 and the scene is Sky Harbor airport in Phoenix. Singer of post-hardcore’s latest big band Saosin, Anthony Green is feeling homesick for the eastern seaboard. He leaves behind a band ready to make it huge after the release of Translating the Name EP, which featured the absolutely fantastic “Seven Years” (which can be heard below). In stepped 19-year-old Cove Reber who would grab the reins of this band, while Green formed Circa Survive with Colin Frangicetto of This Day Forward.
Thirteen years and a total of seven studio releases between them (two from Saosin and five from Green’s Circa Survive), and the prodigal son has returned. Along the Shadow brings with it all the lessons Green has learned from his now extensive body of work as a frontman.
Where his early work saw him focus solely on soaring his vocals to the highest here he keeps restraint, for the most. This is most clear on “Second Guesses” which feels ready to erupt, but stays in line and is a better song because of it. There’s a lull of calm after this and all the songs seem to flow into one giant non-distinguishable piece of post-hardcore. That is until “The Secret Meaning of Freedom” sweeps through and just blows everything around with a dual attack of Green and guitarist Beau Burchell.
Speaking of Burchell, on “Illusion and Control” he and green bludgeon us to death and leave us bleeding on the floor only to get picked up by “Control and the Urge to Pray” which play like a dynamic shifting attack on the senses. A perfect duo to end the record.
If there’s any track here that is a show-stealer it’s the opener “The Silver String,” this song perfectly surmises what this band is. Green flows from high choruses and lulls to screams right out of hell as Alex Rodriguez performs an assault on his kit not seen since the self-titled effort nearly a decade ago. Dabbling in what I can only assume is the movement of life that “The Silver String” might just refer to the one called life. A fragile thing surely, and from an existential point, it leaves you asking as Green does here, “who holds the silver string”?
This is surely a return to form for Saosin whose 2009 “In Search of Higher Ground” while reaching number 4 on the alternative charts (and 6 on the rock charts) did not feature near enough creativity and good musicianship. Here Green shows he’s clearly a better fit than Cove Reber and does a fantastic job of taking what was his to begin with. I’d give Along the Shadow an 8 out of 10.