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Artist: Still Breathing
Label:Solid State Records
Length: 13 Tracks/44:08
If you thought that metal was a boys-only outfit, prepare to be blown away by this release. Still Breathing brings to mind the sheer brutality of Living Sacrifice, Soul Embraced, or Sepultura with a force that hits you full in the teeth, not more than two seconds into the first track. To those who doubt whether a female vocalist fits into the metal scene, just one spin of this album will allay all fears. Not since Kittie has there been such an aggressive female presence in metal. Forget the Spice Girls—Dacey Bunton is what girl power is all about. She screams and growls with an absolute fury that is remarkably comparable to Bruce of label mates and hardcore heroes Living Sacrifice. As far as production goes, it is a safe bet that after a few more releases like this, the name of Travis Wyrick, best known for his work with Disciple, will become as well known and highly pursued as Barry Poynter. Wyrick first produced Still Breathing’s 3-song demo, and takes the controls once again for the full album. The production is almost flawless; nothing is overproduced, or poorly mixed.
The power of the album is here in full force, but not so much that the vocals become buried. Perhaps the only detractor to this release is the fact that the songs do not flow together seamlessly. The three songs from the early demo appear on the album, and do not seem to fit in with the tone of the rest of the songs, nor do they transition very well from one song to the next. Other times, such as “With Hateful Pride,” there is a bit of confusion when the song completely stops, pauses, and picks up again sounding not at all like the rest of the song. All of these can be considered “rookie mistakes” and do not at all take away from the potential that Still Breathing has. The difference in new songs from the demo songs shows a great deal of musical growth. “September” is a solid debut album, and will generate plenty of hype while the band works on polishing their sound and growing as musicians, for that explosive second release.
Duncann Tripp 5/12/02