REVIEW: Still Remains – ‘Ceasing To Breathe’

ceasingtobreathe

Artist: Still Remains
Album: Ceasing to Breathe
Genre: Metalcore

If you told me Still Remains would put out an album in 2013 after breaking up post-The Serpent five years ago, it’s highly likely I would have chuckled and moved on with my day as the band who wrote Of Love and Lunacy seemed long gone, like an artifact permanently tucked into metalcore’s past. Yet, almost a decade after their visionary debut full-length was released, the entire lineup that wrote the record (sans-bass guitarist Evan Wiley) has returned with a brand new effort in the form of Ceasing to Breathe.

It’s fair to wonder what direction Still Remains would be interested in taking since much within the metalcore scene has changed since 2005. They could very well have opted to absorb the outputs of the bands they directly or indirectly influenced, but fortunately, it appears they have little interest in reciprocating current trends as their new effort is, in its essence, an audible time machine that would have made perfect sense as a direct follow-up to Of Love & Lunacy. Featuring T.J. Miller’s raspy screams, massive clean-vocal choruses, and the group’s signature synth, one could not ask for more from the band as they are aiming to utilize the elements that made them unique in the first place.

Of course, this isn’t to say the band haven’t progressed, as their musicianship has obviously evolved over the years in regards to technicality, composition, and most importantly, pure accessibility. Take the frontman, for example; Miller’s screams continue to be recognizably his, but they now have a powerful tone that encompasses more of the mid-range than ever before and beefs up the band’s sound as a whole. In regards to clean vocals, the band have always known how to integrate them into their music, but what appear to be some of Still Remains’ best hooks are present on Ceasing to Breathe. On tracks such as “Beacon” and “Crone,” the choruses are absolutely inspiring on first listen as the emotion being injected into them both sonically and lyrically is highly apparent, and as the record progresses, the desire to sing the occasionally simple yet always meaningful words (“Caught in the undertow, over and over; nothing can drag me down, nothing can pull me under”) back at the band in a live setting rapidly seeps in (hint, hint, Still Remains).

When it comes to the instrumentals that tie in with both styles of vocals, Still Remains have the right idea, as Ceasing to Breathe’s crushing sections of relentless chugging are just as impactful as the atmospheric, instrumental bridges usually placed between them. This notion further benefits from matured songwriting; not only does the band sound fantastic, but their songs seem to be structured more consciously by maintaining an impeccable balance between heavy and light, and thus, there is never a tiring moment to be found. Furthermore, the production is absolutely ace throughout the record as no aspect of the band’s arsenal overwhelms another, and this fact is especially positive for the keys as the integral component of Still Remains’ being are able to naturally flow throughout the music rather than sounding like a self-indulgent addition that a notable amount of modern metalcore bands embrace.

While noting how the keys flawlessly mesh with the music may seem rather trivial even when speaking of a band who were at the forefront of the synth-metalcore movement, it’s a testament to the evident painstaking detail put into the record. It seems as if the band had the intent of staying true to themselves while also putting out the absolute best record possible, and if that was the case, there is no doubt they accomplished it with Ceasing to Breathe. By translating their 2005 sound to present days with just the right amount of fresh ideas, Still Remains have created the best work of their career to date. Here’s to hoping they stick around this time.

Score: 8/10
Review written by: Michael Giegerich – (Follow him on Twitter)

Mike Giegerich

Mike Giegerich is a freelance journalist with an affinity for the hip-hop scene. His top-five favorite records of all time are Future's last five releases. Feel free to blow up his mentions on Twitter.
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