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Silent Majority - Life of a Spectator (Cover Artwork)

Silent Majority

Silent Majority: Life of a SpectatorLife of a Spectator (1997)
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Reviewer Rating: 4.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: mikexdudemikexdude
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Genuine emotion. Whatever era or style of hardcore is in question, the fact of the matter is that the bands regarded as "the best" epitomized this concept in one way or another -- be it Black Flag's blunt hatred, Gorilla Biscuits' positivity and glee or Dag Nasty's sorrowful lyrics. Unfortunately.
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Genuine emotion.

Whatever era or style of hardcore is in question, the fact of the matter is that the bands regarded as "the best" epitomized this concept in one way or another -- be it Black Flag's blunt hatred, Gorilla Biscuits' positivity and glee or Dag Nasty's sorrowful lyrics. Unfortunately, the conventional and predictable tendencies of the `90s straight-edge movement almost shattered the fragile foundation of fervent hardcore and replaced it with X'd up tough-guy agendas. However, hailing from the same state that was seemingly responsible, New York's Silent Majority scrounged the jagged shards left from what once defined the scene and produced the powerful mosaic Life of a Spectator.

With their only proper full length (the other, Based on a True Story, being a 7'' collection), the five-piece straps the listener into a dynamic roller-coaster ride through the moods and settings portrayed by frontman Tommy Corrigan. With "Windows Down," he desperately narrates an anecdote of a time spent painting names on the side of a train, singing "the names of the other ones have faded / so I touched them up the best I could / tried to make everything the way it was / but paint won't stick to the side of a rusted train / just like painting them in the rain"; it's almost like a metaphor for a bigger and somber picture. In the upbeat "Polar Bear Club," Corrigan declares his passion for music with the honest and concise verse "this is a lifestyle and not some silly trend / and years from now when they're all gone / I pray that we're still friends."

Lyrics aside, his vocal attack is rarely methodical; the screaming is performed less as a technique, but rather the inevitable product of emotional stress on the vocal cords. Polar Bear Club (make sense?) vocalist, Jimmy Stadt said it best: "[Tommy's] vocals aren't black and white." There's no polarization with his singing and screaming. There is a middle ground between the two that's just as potent.

Instrumentally, Silent Majority's stalwart rhythm section relies on heavy, melodic phrasing and with no hesitation to turn the distortion off and finger pick. "Cross Crowded Rooms" combines the defining elements of the band for their four-and-a-half-minute closer. Beginning with a short bass intro welcoming layers of guitars, it eventually builds until holding out the chords for Corrigan to yell "take this finger take this thumb / stretch them out to form a gun / point to the left side of my chest / just say bang / then it's done," paving way to the climactic finale.

Along with flattering production and guest vocals from Glassjaw's Daryl Palumbo on "Popular Opinion," Life of a Spectator is a melodic hardcore masterpiece where "melodic" and "hardcore" are fused so effortlessly it appears to be a subconscious act rather than something done purposefully. Silent Majority, without a doubt, is genuine emotion.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
theproblemwithfire (November 2, 2013)

after eventually getting my hands on this, i've got to say that it's overwhelmingly decent at best. polar bear club is a stand out, but for the most part this thing is a snoozer. at least capital has some balls, this is an average album.

inagreendase (January 12, 2009)

the_problem_with_fire:

I believe it's out of print, obviously, but some distros still have copies leftover. I got what seems to be one of the last from RevHQ a few months ago. And lookie lookie:

http://www.gokartrecords.com/store.php?PAGE=detail&id= 82

givemeamuseumandillfillit (January 10, 2009)

Haha, I didn't even comment on the Deadguy review though.
You got it right with this one.

epoch (January 9, 2009)

This album is truly terrific. I never heard of Silent Majority until I saw them open up for Kill Your Idols and H2O. Great show, Silent Majority blew me away. Even unfamiliar with the band and the lyrics, Tommy exuded sincerity.

Great review, speaking of which. What sets punk rock (attach whatever *core subgenre label you want here) from everything else is sincerity.

Capital, by the way, is a worthy follow-up. I'll buy anything that Tommy ever does.

the_problem_with_fire (January 9, 2009)

this album is out of print or something because it is very hard to find. the copy amazon has is 85 bucks.

mikexdude (January 8, 2009)

Score is for "GOODER."

xshoutoutx (January 8, 2009)

Capital rules... but shit, this CD just destroys everything. Good review, and even GOODER band:).

It sure is great to live in NY these days. SO much awesome shit coming out of the burroughs, and even upstate (cough, cough PBC).

mikexdude (January 8, 2009)

"Good review, the words actually mean something when put together, in stark contrast to your adjective-fueled Deadguy review"

Thank you for some actual constructive criticism this time. ; ) There was a point when writing this when I thought: "is givemeandmuseumandillfill it gonna like this?" Haha...

givemeamuseumandillfillit (January 8, 2009)

Good review, the words actually mean something when put together, in stark contrast to your adjective-fueled Deadguy review.

Great record, bands like final fight etc has nothing on SM.

mikexdude (January 7, 2009)

Capital* goddamnit.

mikexdude (January 7, 2009)

Hey readers, I'd definitely check out Capitl if you haven't.

And to TeaEssAre, I'm really not as bad as you think. :-/

TeaEssAre (January 7, 2009)

I was seriously looking for a silent majority review a couple of days ago...

maybe you aren't so bad, mikexdude....maybe you arent...

usapsychos (January 7, 2009)

Silent Majority along with Inside were two bands that completely changed my life in the 90s. I miss the good old days when the shows were packed.

njbenj (January 7, 2009)

One of my top ten hardcore records, and so underrated it's sickening.

PIllsAndAdvice (January 7, 2009)

Pure and simple, this band rules. Anyone interested in seeing some live footage of them (and of another of Tommy's bands, Blood Red) should keep their eyes on this: http://longislandhardcoreshows.wordpress.com/

justinucr (January 7, 2009)

"Posted by martinNZ09 on 2009-01-07 00:03:07

Once upon a time there were bands like this being churned out, now what do we have?

I miss the old days"

We have CAPITAL.
This is such an amazing record, it couldn't get a higher score.

pastepunk (January 7, 2009)

A desert island release for me, and a cornerstone band of my teenage Long Island mid-90s youth.

martinNZ09 (January 7, 2009)

Once upon a time there were bands like this being churned out, now what do we have?

I miss the old days

mikexdude (January 6, 2009)

Also, there may have been more better ones, but hardcore become so much more trendy than it ever was and brought a lot of completely uninspired acts from it -- a threat to its originality. But yeah, I'm done.

mikexdude (January 6, 2009)

Or "rap," but I'm sure they got wraps too.

mikexdude (January 6, 2009)

Hardcore didn't lose any of it's fervency or creativity in the nineties. Sure, a fair amount of jock bands came up, but there were just as many, if not more, amazing bands that popped up in the nineties as there were in the eighties.

My point exactly with "fair amount of jock bands" and the whole straight edgers getting a bad wrap from those stupid gangs. I never said it lost, I implied a THREAT. But I get what you mean, I ain't doggin' 90's hardcore.

sugarfull (January 6, 2009)

" Unfortunately, the conventional and predictable tendencies of the `90s straight-edge movement almost shattered the fragile foundation of fervent hardcore and replaced it with Xd up tough-guy agendas. "

Huh??

Hardcore didn't lose any of it's fervency or creativity in the nineties. Sure, a fair amount of jock bands came up, but there were just as many, if not more, amazing bands that popped up in the nineties as there were in the eighties.

asxyouxwish (January 6, 2009)

they just don't make 'em like they used to.

warmchords (January 6, 2009)

ha, no im not kidding. sincerity on the org...strange I know

mikexdude (January 6, 2009)

Kidding or not, you're the best!

warmchords (January 6, 2009)

mikexdude I always enjoy your reviews

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