There’s life in these Still Remains.
For a while now fans have been anticipating a fresh spray from these metalcore mashing, high octane Michigan boys. After disbanding in 2008, there was a high chance that the Still Remains moniker was set to fade out, but a show in 2011 and a Kickstarter program gives life to their 2013 record, Ceasing To Breathe
. Bringing back the nostalgic feels found on Of Love And Lunacy
, Ceasing To Breathe
is a fresh effort likely to pull at the heartstrings of old fans and new faces alike. As far as the genre’s concerned, there’s not a lot out of place here. In fact, everything sits within the stereotypes of the metalcore genre. Ceasing To Breathe
shows a band that simply does it better, with very little separating this release from the tide of acts all fighting for a spot on top of the pile. Still Remains provide a consistent, more rounded album that reminisces of the impact to be found on their earlier records, without conforming to copious amounts of tedious lyrical clichés or electronica (yes it’s there, but it doesn’t become at all overbearing).
Still Remains have found another notch, a second gear. It could come down to the fact that the break from each other and the band has allowed them to come back stronger and more cohesive, or it could simply be that the guys have improved on what once was. Whatever the scenario, the effect is gratifying, impressive and removes the chances of this ‘reunion’ album being a simple grab for cash. Throughout the record, listeners are blessed with an emotive experience. The riffs control the movement for the rest of the instrumental passages, not in a way where everything simply ‘hugs’ the main rhythmic lines of tracks but in a way where bass lines grow, lyrics are balanced and simple drum patterns expand into more than a metronome. Keep in mind, the quasi-breakdowns are unavoidable, but they’re tasteful and in all the right spots. Still Remains are musically aware, not just in technical ability, but in the fact that they see no need to wank through tracks.
Highlights emerge throughout the record, from start to finish there’s something here to appease old and new fans of the group. Album opener, “Bare Your Teeth” brings back the angry hook line, showing that the album is suitable to a live setting. It’s always a good thing when a crowd can swing back chorus lines, ensuring the listeners’ interest never wanes throughout the track. Typical metalcore blast beats; formulaic structuring and intense growls all make an appearance and sets the bar for the rest of the album. If the album has any faults it’s in its predictability. It’s not really the fault of this U.S. act as the problem surfaces throughout the genre, but as Ceasing To Breathe
runs its natural course, things start to feel samey, broken only by the band’s attention to detail.
It’s amazing when bands resurface from the ashes and manage to create something that’s not only great, but creatively engaging. Still Remains’ 2013 effort has a strong replay value, that’s made not just for the listeners’ iPod, but also for a live setting. Ceasing To Breathe
speaks of higher values, not just instrumentally or in the album’s design but also through lyrical content. With such a success on the boy’s belts it’s a wonder whether they’ll keep making music, if any future works are to have the same quality impact as this, we can only hope they will continue to adhere to the fans wishes. For all those who see metalcore as a dead or dying sub-genre, Still Remains shows hope in the form of bringing back some of their older sounds. Ceasing To Breathe
shows an act rising from the ashes.