Recreant- Still Burn

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Thursday, November 6, 2014

I’m a little late on this one as it came out at the beginning of September, but Recreant’s Still Burn is an absolute rager that’s likely to appeal to anyone that likes heavy hitting crust punk/screamo. The Tampa group has been around since 2011 and released a discography of early material and a self-titled full length prior to Still Burn. While the core elements you’d expect from anything tagged crust/screamo are present throughout this release, the addition of violin and some black metal influences make Recreant sound genuinely different from many of their peers.

Each of the nine songs on this album has the extremely aggressive, raw sound that is common for crust punk and hardcore. But it’s what the members of Recreant add around that base that really makes this album stand out. The violin plays a significant role in this, as the instrumentals move between blasts of aggression and melodic sections that mellow things out slightly. During these sections the guitar and violin work in tandem to create soaring atmospheric melodies that instantly grab your attention, and the transitions from the rawer moments over to these is seamless. Some of these moments remind me a bit of the post rock/metal dynamic, though Still Burn doesn’t linger on these ideas for too long and drag them out to the point of repetition, instead utilizing them as quick melodic bursts that pull you in and prepare you for another round of intense riffing. Recreant also throws in some leads that have a slight black metal feel to them, though they’re not one of those black metal meets hardcore combinations that have sprung up in recent years. Instead, the icier feel of black metal is occasionally injected into the instrumentals to add just a bit more flair to specific moments, and it’s yet another element that really helps the material to grab your attention and keep you coming back for more.

Ashley Maclaren is Recreant’s lead vocalist, but two of the other members of the band provide backups throughout the course of Still Burn. Maclaren’s vocals come in the form of a fairly high pitched scream/shriek that’s very abrasive and towers over the instrumentals with sheer aggression. The backups are a bit lower pitched, and they complement the higher ranges nicely, giving the band a bit more versatility than is typical for this genre. The amount of anger and intensity that is present throughout the entire recording makes this album hit particularly hard, and this makes sense considering that the band is tackling a wide range of social issues in their lyrical content. For some the higher pitches may be an acquired taste, but if you’re like me and find that the rawer and more intense a singer’s scream makes the material that much more enticing, chances are you’ll find Recreant to be a group that makes a strong first impression.

Still Burn’s not only a very aggressive album that throws some intense riffs and vocals at the listener, but it also has quite a bit of staying power. The way that Recreant is able to incorporate some melodic leads that have both a post rock/metal and black metal feel into a crust punk and hardcore/screamo base allows them to stand out in this fairly crowded space. This is the second band in this genre I’ve come across that incorporates violin (Dead to a Dying World is the first) and it’s something that I like quite a bit, as the strings are able to add that extra layer of depth to the material and enhance the overall atmosphere. It’s clear that with Still Burn this band is really starting to hit their stride, and I can’t wait to see where they go from here.

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