Life is full of endless possibilities. We all pick and choose our fates, from important, earth-shattering, life altering decision making down to what color of socks we're going to wear on any given morning. Ultimately, we decide whether or not to enjoy the gift of life that we have been blessed with- surmounting all obstacles, or to wallow in our own self-doubt, self-pity and the selfish escapism of many illicit pursuits.
It is never too late to change. As long as we are still breathing, we can uplift ourselves from mediocrity and the challenges of everyday life. As long as we are still breathing, we can inspire others to become progressively minded, thoughtful and caring individuals. As long as we are still breathing, we can create art and music- channeling our sorrows, emotion and energy through a cathartic process that cleanses our souls while connecting with others. As long as we are still breathing.
It is with these principles in mind that the band Still Breathing has taken shape, choosing a moniker that symbolizes hope- a hope for a brighter tomorrow, a hope for better ways of living. "September"- the band's Solid State debut album- is a mind-bendingly brutal yet intensely uplifting, forward thinking slab of metallic heaviness charged by an overwhelmingly positive message. Still Breathing's music draws liberally from the hardcore elements of Turmoil and Vision of Disorder, the moody atmospherics of Deftones and the precision, ten-ton-hammer metallic fury of Sepultura, Meshuggah and labelmates Living Sacrifice while retaining an identity that is remarkably unique. The just-over-one-year-old band has crafted an album worthy of a band that's been around ten times as long. Vocalist Dacey's growl is far more formidable than one could fathom by merely looking at her. Like Candace of Walls of Jericho or the singer from Arch Enemy, she propels songs like "Sweet Wound Sour" and "Forsaken" with a heated, manic angst. Guitarist Bob Hensley savagely riffs over the top of the rhythm section of John Hensley (drums) and Michael Rame's (bass) pummeling grooves.
The Oklahoma based band came together in November 2000. Band manager Danny Hill took a liking to the group after merely one performance, and by April of 2001, he had them in a Knoxville, Tennessee studio recording a 3-song demo with producer Travis Wyrick.
Before they knew it, Still Breathing found themselves playing a two song set for Solid State label reps at that same year's Cornerstone Festival.
Though the performance would eventually result in an August agreement with the label, original drummer Jessie Neri left the band shortly after Cornerstone, citing hackneyed though appropriate "creative differences" as his reasoning. Bob's cousin John came aboard as his replacement and in November, Still Breathing hit the studio (again with Wyrick at the controls) for a three-week stretch that resulted in the incredibly powerful "September" opus.
The album is so named as September was a time of change- not only in the personal lives of the members of Still Breathing, but in the lives of so many others. It was a time of tragedy, persistence and faith, according to the band. Tragedy, of course, as so many lives were lost on September 11th, reminding us all not to take our own gifts for granted. Persistence- because the band got its act together, despite losing its drummer, and turned out an incredible debut record. Faith- in so much as the band's faith in God got them through the difficult period of loss, bewilderment and transition.
When it's all said and done, Still Breathing hopes that they will have made a difference in the lives of their listeners. Raising questions amongst them and asking them to look into themselves, into their souls, minds and spirits, for the answers. And letting them know that through it all, as long as they are still breathing.