Friday, June 14, 2024

Review: Still Remains – Ceasing to Breath

Allow me to take you back – Imagine yourself aged 14, picking up a copy of ‘Of Love and Lunacy’ between your sweaty grabbers. With a sense of intrigue you press play. 50 minutes in and your mind (and your ear drums) have been blown!

Almost 10 years later it is still an album I put up there as being one of the reasons I ever picked up a guitar. So when I heard Still Remains had reformed and released a new album, Ceasing to Breath that same sense of glee and excitement experienced by a younger me all returned. A small part of my brain however began the mental preparations, worried that what made that debut so special would be lost, and we’d be left with another ‘Serpent’-esque offering.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. I’m serious! You’d be forgiven for not believing this is the same band that produced ‘The Serpent’ let alone ‘Of Love…’. Their unmistakable sound is there, yet in small subtle ways it is vastly improved. Take the vocals for instance, Miller’s raspy screams are still present, but they’ve taken a much more gutteral tone, one that complements the much heavier, faster and more powerful musical direction the band have taken, that, combined with Church’s distinctive singing style, show just how much the hiatus benefitted them.

still remainsWhat I considered to be a major plus was rather than fall in line behind the myriad of bands they undoubtedly influenced before their hiatus in 2008, they seem to have almost redesigned the very mould they helped form. It’s almost like Still Remains are making up for lost time, determined to put their stamp back onto a genre that (it could be argued) has become stale and repetitive.

Opening track ‘Bare Your Teeth’ sets the pace for the entire album. Within the first 10 seconds it’s almost as if they have reached through your speakers, grabbed you by the shoulders and demanded your complete and undivided attention.

Get to track 3 ‘Beacon’ and you will be fully rewarded ten-fold. A Killswitch-esque offering with that trademark Still Remains twist. The combined voices of Miller and Church, to the backdrop of guitars, drums and synth, create something that will have you hammering the rewind button, trying to recapture the goose bump inducing outro. This for me is the stand out track of the whole album.

Track 11 ‘Reprise’ is a fantastic example of a band that’ve drawn influences from more than one source, you can tell something is there, but you can never pin it down. You’ll be constantly asking yourself ‘who does that almost sound like?’ but not in any way that distracts from the material.

I was seriously struggling to find faults with it. If I had to be super critical, I would say that, while the pacing is quick and heavy out the gate, it does almost drop off towards the second half, and it may become difficult to keep your full attention on it. Still Remains fans could not have asked for a better comeback album. Everything is there and done in a way that suggests there is a lot more to come.

Still Remains ‘Ceasing to Breath’ is out now!

10/10

Stephen stanford
Stephen stanford
Freelance Journalist. Music reviewer. Quavers aficionado. Spent several years playing in bands and touring, and now enjoying discovering new music. Would achieve a lot more if it wasn`t for my Xbox.

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