If the punk fury that is Stop Breathing has not yet left you exhausted and welcomingly scarred yet than picking up their latest 7” EP Santa Cruz via Rotten To The Core Records is our forceful suggestion. We admit the band is new to us too but the intent to waste no more time and to check out the Californians and their previous self-titled release further is now a hungry energy after being embroiled in the raw impressive aggression of this latest release.
The songs on the Santa Cruz EP from the Oxnard/Ventura based punks, are seeded from and breathe the origins of Southern California punk rock and waste no second or note on passionless intent, instead producing a ferocious fire which lasts over the quintet of tracks without any pause. Longevity of songs is also low on purpose, the shotgun attack of each a violent and bruising encounter which ignites all the passions that arguably modern punk from many bands has been if not lost put in a distant corner. Recorded last summer with Joe Clements, on a day off from their tour with Suicidal Tendencies, Stop Breathing offer songs written at the tail end of 2011 going into 2012 and as such are said to be an extension of their self-titled debut album which had not long been out. With the rampaging sounds of Santa Cruz that extra piece of inducement provides another irresistible reason to investigate said full length, something all would be foolish to ignore.
Opening storm Can’t Be Stopped is twenty three seconds of pure punk animosity, guitars and bass forming a battering ram of intensity for the rhythmic bashing from drummer Justin Dempsey and the fired up anger of vocalist John Crerar to thrust through and seize the listener by the throat. It is brief, spiteful, and thoroughly invigorating. Its tail finds the bass of Mike Carter producing an extra deep throaty growl to its presence which is more apparent as a constant from the following Nightstick Nightmare onwards. The track again stands toe to toe with its recipients and flares up in their faces and thoughts with scorching riffs from guitarists Ben Hament and Jesse Jenny coursing with sonic vitriol between the rhythmic snapping from Dempsey and that now carnivorously charged bass sound. The vocals again show no mercy or intent to take it easy on the senses, Crerar a forceful and impressive blaze of venomous squalls and incitement within the equally potent sounds.
Artificial Memory is forty five seconds of torrential ferocity and invention, the track alone showing you do not need a wealth of time to make something enterprising and imaginative as it burns down your peaceful sheltered existence, whilst its successor Till We Die sonically extinguishes the air around it to create a maelstrom where nothing but caustic riffs, predacious basslines, and destructive rhythms lurk all led by the ringleader brawling of vocals.
Completed by Who Are You, an excellent cover of the Void classic and a song which stands up as chest beating defiant glory just as easily in the hands of Stop Breathing, the Santa Cruz EP is a breath taking triumph which shows many other bands how to create real and inciting punk rock, not bad from a release which supposedly only took six hours to create. Great record from a great band; enough said go get a copy.
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