Stop Breathing - Stop Breathing
Record Label: No Idea
Release Date: May 29, 2012
Within the punk scene, I've noticed that the term "rapid fire" can be synonymous to a host of things: the evolution of the skater generation, H.R. of Bad Brains, and bullets…er, bullet belts. But particularly, the sonic approach of traditional hardcore punk (and Nardcore*). Stop Breathing mishmashes its crew out of Young Livers, Glass & Ashes, the Fucking Wrath, the Missing 23rd, and more, which we can credit a modest third for the band's axe to grind. Likewise, if Huntington Beach's rapid fire F-Minus can release a 2003 album climatically named Wake Up Screaming, then the name Stop Breathing can be taken as a misanthropic pun in response.
Just as pessimistic is the coarse brevity of vocalist John Crerar on "Lost Forever", where he equates his non-existent spirituality to his non-existent dispossession: "I don't trust the cross. I don't have the answers. I'm forever lost." We knew that already, though. Especially when taking into consideration how sarcasm and religious defiance are ironically at the helm of punk, well, proselytizing. However, as a self-titled headstart on No Idea Records, home of the "anti-" band, it works.
While the Oxnard quartet exude a highly energetic, bum-rushing persona 90% of the time, the last half of "White Out" and "Laid To Rest" are relative calms before the album's recycling storm. Stop Breathing tend to do that --- they will be consistent to a point, then throw in a random surprise. Such is the case with their all black-and-white album art, with a band member in blue falling off a ledge.
Despite receiving producer Roger Camero's (Warriors) and engineer Paul Miner's (Death By Stereo) stamp of approval, it is not smothered by spazzing metallic solos. Rather, the promotional single "What I Want" showcases the production's massive blare, with low treble basslines, pinging cymbals, rhythmic chugs, and the occasional wayward note that binds the song's spectrum.
Where Stop Breathing really rage, though, is in the roughened vocal exchanges between Crerar and his fellow bandmates. Their super fast, straightforward style doesn't hurt either, and it certainly doesn't hurt the Nardcore reputation any (despite the term starting off as a joke). In true reclamation spirit to channel what Dr. Know and Ill Repute did best in their time, the line: "There's more of us than there is of you, take back what is ours" emphatically snarls over closer "Our Times". If Stop Breathing can thrash out a bit more original crossover, they could potentially salvage that torch.