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Against the Silence EP/DVD
Artist: Stavesacre
Label: Independent
Length: 5 tracks / 19:07

Stavesacre’s new Against the Silence EP in one word?


The title track crackles with frenetic energy, punctuated by Mark Salomon’s feisty, snarling vocals. This band is FIRED UP. The reunion with founding member Jeff Bellew seems to have given vocalist Salomon, bassist Dirk Lemmenes, guitarist Ryan Dennee and drummer Sam West a new sound and fury. In point of fact, my good friend and fellow  fan Andrew Hall suggests that the new EP doesn’t necessarily have that “classic” Stavesacre sound. Yet this is not a bad thing. Not content to simply rehash their catalogue for one last go-round, they’ve stuck the spade in new soil and started digging like a prison break. There is no complacency or boredom to be found here – the guys are way too into it. Honestly, I don’t know if Stavesacre even care if people like their new disc because the performances suggest that they do.

Great moments appear throughout. The album opens with a fade-in on a fast, edgy Jeff Bellew guitar lick before the band kicks in with SONIC PUNCHING, signalling immediately that Things Are Going To Be Different. “The Dash On My Headstone” drips with attitude, Salomon spitting out “Your mother must be proud.” The acidic “Teeth Like Knives” features an EPIC bridge. In my own damn opinion Stavesacre saves the best for last. “…The Band Played On (Against the Silence Pt II)” raises its fist in defiance, the dynamic, dramatic “final act” where the band members – united as one in spirit and sound – make their last stand, Salomon pouring himself out with the words “I sang along in a chorus / of righteous discontent / When I asked ‘What was won?”/ in all the silence / the band played on.” Wow. Just… wow.

Accompanying the EP is a DVD, the story of Stavesacre as told by the band. The 45-minute DVD gives some great insight into the history of the group. At times the comments are brutally honest, particularly the segments surrounding Bellew’s original departure from the band, but do not mistake this for a “dirty laundry” video.  Particularly interesting is the story behind the group’s most recent full-length How To Live With a Curse and exactly why it was released to virtually no fanfare. Lots of live footage is nicely edited into the interview sections, showcasing everything from the band’s earliest shows in 1995 to the recent EP recording sessions for.

Originally conceived as a “farewell” to the band and its fans, Against the Silence is one hell of a way to go out.  But if the vitality and excitement contained on the recording is any indication, the sun has yet to set on the men from Fresno.

Ryan Ro [ |]

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