In March 2013, the up-and-coming hardcore group Nothing Til Blood announced they were parting ways with their vocalist, Amadeus Pryor. In that same announcement, the group informed the public that Hector Becarra, who would come all the way from Los Angeles to Alabama, would replace Pryor. Almost immediately, the band hit 456 Studios in Nashville to begin recording Still Standing, the band’s sophomore release from Facedown Records. I am not sure if it was the vocalist change or simply a growth spurt, but this new album shows just how far Nothing Til Blood has come over the past few years.
The first thing I noticed about this album was the ’90s hardcore-style cover art. It immediately reminded me of Integrity’s 1996 release, Humanity is the Devil. And while I would never advise listeners to judge an album by its cover, it is totally accurate to assume that this album is every bit as heavy as it looks.
Not only does Still Standing have songs featuring some big names within the Christian hardcore community (“Overlooked” features Mattie Montgomery of For Today and “Forever Forward” featuring Sleeping Giant’s Tommy Green), but this album also features a dynamic range of vocals and vocal stylings from newcomer Becarra. In addition to standard hardcore vocals, this album also showcases some cleans on songs such as “Overlooked,” “Reckless” and “Forever Forward.” I can also speak for the rest of the album, lyrically, by saying that each song shares a distinct, uplifting message that both Christians and non-Christians can be encouraged by.
As far as musically, I’m not sure if it’s an Alabama hardcore thing, but Still Standing is practically Gideon’s Milestone. They are nearly identical in sound and instrumentation. Both records pack an aggressive punch with unrelenting thrash beats and a gnarly bass tone They’re not bad similarities to share, but both releases do sound all too similar. The only major difference with Still Standing, however, is the significant musical growth from album-to-album.
I don’t typically subscribe to, “Yeah, but their first album is way better,” when talking about Nothing Til Blood. Sure, I can jam When Lambs Become Lions just as much as the next Facedown Records fan boy, but Still Standing really ups the barometer by bringing way more to the table both musically and lyrically.