Still Remains - The Serpent
Two years after their debut, Roadrunner's Still Remains have released 'The Serpent'. The album isn't ground-breaking but is at least mild relief from the rapidly tiring and saturated metalcore genre.
The contrast with 2005s 'Of Love and Lunacy' is fairly plain, 'The Serpent' is more relenting and wholly more listenable: developments which are keenly emphasised in the press release and which, gladly, are not exaggerated. The keyboards are more prominent, T.J Miller's vocals are braver and wider ranging, while the lyrics are a little more 'heart on sleeve' but still cover clichéd topics such as broken friendship and strength in dark moments.
The album opens with the title track, a perfectly woven taster of what is to come and a glistening instrumental, that, thundering drums aside wouldn't sound out of place on a Muse album. Following, 'The Wax Walls of an Empty Room' immediately rids the album of the continuous throaty growling of their debut and listening to the whimsical keyboard opening to 'Stay Captive', you could be forgiven for thinking you were hearing some sort of disco-indie.
In fact 'The Serpent' seems to roam quite a lot. At times the band come dangerously close to sounding exactly like genre counterparts Trivium ('Anemia in Your Sheets') while at other times the screeching guitars and keyboard-synth melodies seem to be a little Children of Bodom-esque ('Sleepless Nights Alone').
Rather than this mix-bag of styles being infuriating, it is actually endearing. Furthering my point 'Dancing With the Enemy' churns out a thumping bassline and sparkling keyboards making an undeniably catchy song, which I can only describe as 'pop-metal'. You are probably slightly confused but honestly, you'll have to listen.
There is still substantial roaring on tracks such as 'The River song' and the final number, 'Avalanche', a frenetic angry track which pummels the ears before melting seamlessly into blissful acoustic guitars.
Still Remains have produced an album that never sticks to quite the same sound. It's slick, diverse and well done but while devotees of the genre may lap it up, it's unlikely to win over too many new fans.