This is a tricky one. Stillife‘s Requiem leaves a bit to be desired initially, but upon further listening, its appeal starts to break through. The Michigan group known as Stillife has its own unique approach to heavy metal, one that won’t willingly be confined to genres. They sample progressive, traditional, doom, modern and then some — imagine a melting pot of Jag Panzer, Fates Warning and Solitude Aeturnus without the polish, and you’ve got some idea of what to expect.

The tracks from Requiem could stand to be cut down a bit, as they tend to ramble, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing. The whole affair gets off to a rocky start with an intro smoothly titled “Intro To…,” which then leads into the mostly lackluster “A Godless World.” Thankfully “12-Steps” is better, and it’s at roughly the midsection of the song that Stillife clearly begins to hit their stride. They take some old school melodic plodding and dash in some subtle melancholy, shifting the mood of the tune and ultimately the rest of the album to come. From then on out, Requiem coasts on a highway through peaks of fast crunchy bits, low, eerie gloom-outs and the gray matter in between. In fact, if Requiem had color, gray would definitely be it.

It is at the midway point of the album that the fruition of Stillife‘s efforts become evident, so keep listening. “Directive Four” is progressive, doomy, and the most cohesive from Requiem thus far in its rotation. “Hypocriticism/The Becoming” hits a bit of a lull, but with the “Requiem” trilogy closing out the record, some of Stillife‘s best songwriting and creepiest moments come out and shine. Emotive passages collide with thunderous, engaging moments, and thrashing waves tangle with jagged progressive chunks, making the entire listening experience worthwhile.

Requiem has its moments of both mediocrity and genius, most housed together side by side within the same song. While the vocals grate on the ears at times, and some sections don’t mesh as they should, there are enough good things going on within Requiem to make amends for its shortfalls. Sure, they may be a bit amateur, but Stillife has a solid foundation in Requiem and plenty of room to grow.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jodi Van Walleghem
June 30th, 2011


  1. Commented by: Fred Phillips

    The music wasn’t bad, but the production made it difficult for me to listen to. I pretty much agree with your assessment, though.

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