Stop Breathing - Santa Cruz [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Stop Breathing

Santa Cruz [7-inch] (2013)

Rotten to the Core Records

Stop Breathing, a hardcore band out of Oxnard, California, released the Santa Cruz EP in the spring of 2013 and it’s their latest release to date. I picked this EP up when I saw them open for Direct Hit! and Good Riddance in Thousand Oaks, California on September 5, 2014 just to see how they sounded in the studio compared to how they sounded live.

The story behind this EP is that it was recorded and mixed in six hours, which is an insanely short amount of time to do both of these things. And it's not bad for something recorded in that short of a time span,

The Santa Cruz EP truly shows that Stop Breathing, while they are primarily a hardcore band, definitely have some thrash metal tendencies and that is always a good combination for a band to have.

Of the five songs on this release, the band shines on the third track called “Until We Die.” This is by far the most intense song on the EP because of its blaring guitars, fast pace and solid screaming from the band’s lead singer. This song also shows off where the band leans towards the thrashier side of punk rock because the guitar solo is so complex that it sounds like a solo from a Cro-Mags song or perhaps even a death metal song. Typically the guitar solos that hardcore bands put into their songs are short, simple and to the point.

But this EP falls short in other important areas. If anything the band relies a bit too much on the guitar parts on this EP. That’s about the only notable characteristic of it. Everything else kind of falls to the sides. The lyrics are full of anger, but at the same time they are pretty average and not all that creative: “It’s hard to think looking at your gun/It’s on my head and I need to run” (lyrics from “Nightstick Nightmare”).

You can check out this EP here.