Still Remains

The Serpent

Written by: AP on 14/08/2007 19:11:47

Since the release of their debut album, Still Remains has represented the commercial, more accessible metalcore harbor, and so when the band announced that their next record would be far darker than "Of Love And Lunacy", I was psyched. Unfortunately, in trying to avoid the sophomore slump, the band has landed just there with a generic, bland and trite attempt at progression. In eleven tracks, "The Serpent" achieves little more than a transformation from Christian hardcore to Christian boy band.

Although this might seem exaggerated, it's the truest label I can stamp on "The Serpent". I kid not, songs like "Stay Captive" and "Dancing With The Enemy" wouldn't sound out of place in haute couture discotheques, while the likes of "Sleepless Nights Alone" and "An Undesired Reunion" are to hardcore what HIM is to metal. At the same time, tracks like "Avalanche", "Dropped From the Cherry Tree" and "Anemia in Your Sheets" blossom with the heavy despair brought along from the debut. It's as if Still Remains tries to be all things to all people, and while the songs are unquestionably catchy, there is no doubt that these boys had money in mind. It all seems a bit too contrived; the radio play that will follow, the recently erected fans of new rave and Enter Shikari on the lookout for some more electronica-inspired rock and metal who'll be all ears when it does, and the bigger mainstream bands booking them on high-profile tours as support, only to headline massive stadium shows one day – a wet dream for Still Remains, no doubt, but hardly realistic.

The first thing that bulges out from "The Serpent" is that the synthesizers have been amped up to an all encompassing, celestial presence that overwhelms and dictates the remaining instruments. The result is a melody with some kind of pretend-holy slash blessed vibe that is supposed to emphasize the religious rhetoric. What this ultimately means is that the guitar tracks unwillingly hide beneath all the etherealness, contributing little more than simple power chords and some back-up to the electronics. T.J. Miller prefers to sing, as opposed to growl, in flimsy tones that make him sound like the back-up vocalist of some proper metal outfit. There is no redemption, no deliverance, in "The Serpent", and its only sanctuary is that most of the songs do have a certain catchiness to them and aren't instantly forgettable.


Download: Anemia in Your Sheets, Dancing With The Enemy

For the fans of: Enter Shikari, Sonic Syndicate, Killswitch Engage

Listen: Myspace

Release date 07.08.2007


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