'Ceasing' the day

Metal band rocks hard

Refusing to take ridicule for making cheesy puns, I will say that Still Remains, the synthcore six-piece band from Michigan, still remains an asset to the metal scene. The band started living up to its name when it resurfaced in 2011 — coming out of a three-year hiatus.

The group’s latest effort, “Ceasing to Breathe,” stands true to form for a group who refuses to water down its sound, stubbornly remaining a bastion of unrestrained chaos. The album stays loyal to the wishes of fans who funded Still Remains with more than $15,000 through a Kickstarter program.

“Ceasing to Breathe” can be described as little more than cryptic. Breakdowns on “Bare Your Teeth” and “Bitter Shroud Repentance” are, as drummer AJ Barrette would say, very “graveyard.” They should play “Teeth” at high school dances instead of the latest crop of pop.

The uninitiated may not be aware what a concert by heavier bands entails — but breakdowns rampant in the albums tracks are sure to inspire mosh pits at all of Still Remains’ shows. Aside from being very frightening and child-unfriendly, mosh pits resemble a sort of dance, one which would do well to replace the waltz or my own strategy of trying to sit at dances without looking awkward.

As the Khaleesi’s advisors from “Game of Thrones” would say, “it is known” that my music critique is meant to be objective and not a slew of unsolicited gripes about a genre of which most people have never listened to. But to be nitpicky for a moment, there are times when the group’s use of synth becomes jarring. In future productions, they should look to a few specific songs from “Ceasing” for examples of how to integrate the synth into their music — the band’s use of electronics in “Crone,” “Cain,” and the title track, ultimately aids the cryptic sound and is not overbearing.

The inclusion of guitar solos from Jordan Whelan is another high point, offering a strong melodic element to Still Remains’ sound that felt oddly lacking after listening to Whelan’s side work in Anthem Alone. This seems a common development — bands ranging from Slipknot to Killswitch Engage have eventually utilized solos — but Whelan uses them sparingly, recognizing that they should not be the album’s focus.

After such a successful return, it is no surprise that Still Remains is eager to release more material later this year. Perhaps certain members from the camp could create some new Anthem Alone material to mitigate the anticipation.


Published January 22, 2014 in Arts and Entertainment, tableau





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