When a band breaks up, it often means that the members will be taking a break for a few years. This is luckily the case with one of the best metalcore bands of the ’00s, Still Remains. The band, whose original last show was at Cornerstone 2008, is now back and as active as it was in the last decade. No intros on the new album are as sharp as “Stay Captive,” and no songs are as brutally addictive as “Worst is Yet to Come,” but Ceasing to Breathe is a solid album that leaves listeners wanting more.
Ceasing to Breathe has the band returning to a sound closer to its first full-length album, Of Love and Lunacy, than to its sophomore effort. The album’s opener (“Bare Your Teeth”) skips any melodic introduction and jumps straight into an above-average metalcore track. The guest vocals from Zao’s Dan Weyandt are an excellent touch.
The musicianship is incredibly tight. Drummer A.J. Barrette and keyboardist Zachary Roth are particularly good on this album. “A Way Out” shows a great display of what Roth can do. It’s nice to hear a keyboardist that plays for more than 15 seconds a song. Likewise, “Keeping Secrets” shows off some of Barrette’s best drumming.
Like many metalcore artists, there is a wide variety of vocal styles used on the album (spoken, growled, sung, gang, etc.). The only problem is that they get a tad bit predictable after the first few songs. Generally, you can expect the first few verses to be entirely screamed, the chorus to have clean vocals and screams mixed, and the rest of the vocals will be primarily screamed but also include a few spoken lyrics. All of the best qualities are shown in the album’s epic closing track, “Bitter, Shroud Repentance,” which also includes the most religious lyrics. Most notable is the line, “God, embrace me in Your Spirit / I fall to my knees and I pray for You.”
The only thing missing from the album is one or two incredible, memorable tracks. The album is well-rounded and each track is worth listening to, but odds are you won’t be taken aback by any track the way “Worst is Yet to Come” or “Stay Captive” got you. Nonetheless, “Hopeless” and “Bitter, Shroud Repentance” offer plenty of great reasons to listen to the album.