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Silent Era: Rotate The Mirror 12"

Silent Era: Rotate The Mirror 12"

Tags: · 20s · bay area · hardcore · hcpmf · melodic
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One of the Oakland/San Francisco scene’s most beloved current bands (and long a part of the Nervous Intent Records family), SILENT ERA plays a distinct, high energy take on moody, darkly-melodic hardcore punk with a tasteful nod to the best of NWOBHM in the guitar work. Since 2014, they have played up and down the west coast a handful of times, as well as a six-week European tour in 2018. Building strongly on their prior tape, EP and LP, the title track from their new album Rotate The Mirror continues Silent Era's tradition of ‘80s Norweigan hardcore-inspired stories and soulfully sung vocals. The band doesn’t fit neatly into the hashtag subgenres of the DIY punk scene, but their variety of classic hardcore and punk influences both fit in and stand out on any bill or playlist.

The name Silent Era came from vocalist Michelle (ex-BRILLIANT COLORS, THE SLITS) having never sung in a band before, she was always holding a guitar or bass, so the “silent” era ended for her upon becoming a frontperson – a role in which she excelled, and provided a powerful presence that brought the band to a new level. Silent Era’s lyrics address political situations from mental health care, anti-racism, community, and consent, to anti-war feminism and standing up for oneself.

Our take: California’s Silent Era has been around and releasing records for a while now—we’ve even carried most of them at Sorry State—but I feel like I’ve slept on them. I FUCKED UP! I cannot stop listening to Rotate the Mirror. I can see why Silent Era isn’t a hyped band, because their style of melodic hardcore is one that never caught on the US. They seem more in tune with a tradition of European bands who were rooted in the early 80s hardcore scene but, as that decade wore on, added more melody and complexity to their songwriting. I’m thinking of bands like Funeral Oration, HDQ, and particularly Norwegian bands like Kafka Prosess and So Much Hate (though Silent Era’s vocals are much more melodic than those bands). Not only did a scene for this style of music never catch on in the US, but also it lacks some immediacy because there’s so much going on. The riffs are dense and complex on their own and when you add equally complex vocal melodies and restless hardcore drumming (Silent Era’s drummer was the original drummer for fucking Vaaska!), it takes some time for your ear to make sense of everything Silent Era throws at you. Once you hear it, though, it makes other melodic punk bands sound flat and sterile by comparison. And for extra cool points, they end this blistering 20-minute record with an Upright Citizens cover, though not a fast one like “Swastika Rats…” instead they cover “Future Dreams,” one of Upright Citizens’ most melodic songs, and they nail it, possibly even improving on the original. I acknowledge this won’t be for everyone, but if it sounds like it might be for you, be sure to check out Rotate the Mirror.