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Standstill – memories collector

Posted on: May 12, 2008

Started with a screamo sound close to San Diego style back in 1995, Standstill themselves wouldn’t probably think that they would become, through the years, the influential and respected band they are nowadays. So what happened, why is Standstill not another average hardcore, later post- and nowadays ex-hardcore band?

Besides the fact that they´re from Spain and that you still can reach at least an exotic touch with this origin in that genre, it was in first line their ability to play hardcore music in an aggressive AND melancholic way, with no lack of power. Their debut from 1997 was good and reached attention outside Spain, but their second full length “The Ionic Spell” from 2001sent shockwaves around Europe. That record put a start to the next era of Standstill, when they started to play continuously around Europe, causing a strong influence over a number of british, french, german and belgian bands who wanted to have the same punch, attitude, sound and songs that Standstill was showing successfully wherever they played. The post-hardcore/screamo scene in Europe pulsated and Standstill were on of the leading bands. “The Ionic Spell” awarded like best spanish album of the year by Rock Sound and Mondo Sonoro and highlighted by most of the main spanish specialized magazines. It showed how the rage of the screamo roots can fit with the beauty of the instrumental landscapes, using samplers and keyboards with dexterity.

But one year later, 2002, the next album “Memories Collector” did go one step beyond with the addition of trumpets, vibraphones, upright basses and other instruments really uncommon in the “hardcore” scene. Like 4 years ago with “the shape of punk to come” from Refused hardcore-music was reinvented (or killed? to invent something new?), last time the storm came from Sweden, this time from Spain. And for me it came at the right time, once again I thought that hardcore was dead. Refused legendary last release from 1998 became something like a blueprint, hundreds of bands just copying them, hardcore music (with all its different subgenres) once again was trapped into stagnation. Standstill´s “Memories Collector” broke up that stagnation and the record title was perfect: the music collected all the tendencies and developments that took place over the last years and transformed the whole into a new sound. Hardcore (and of course Punk) has a long history of that kind of important records (we can argue if Standstill´s “Memories Collector” is one, in my eyes it is, especially for the european hardcore scene), that ended stagnation (and hardcore is full of stagnation and conservative nostalgia), aggregated and evolved new directions (and since some years I´m waiting for a new milestone in hardcore music or did I just miss it? tell me if you think so!)

With the addition of Carlos on second guitar and Damià on the saxophone Standstill added a touch of experimentation to their emotional sound, losing agressivity but not power. Surprising from the very first breaks of “Ride down the slope” until the Black Sabbath inheritance of “Memories Collector”, passing through the quiet lyricism of “Dead man picture” or the apic intensity of “Always late” or “Not the place”, this record simply broke up with anything else done before in the international post-hardcore scene, left impress also in the indie scene.

The following releases, all on highly respected spanish indepentend label BCore, led Standstill more into a quieter, smoother sound rather than the explosive output of their previous stuff. Their same titled third record from 2004 is their most mature, profound and eloquent album ever, as it is the first release they have sung in spanish. A few weeks ago they released “Viva la guerra” continuing on that way.

“Memories Collector” is until today one of the most important european hardcore records, that broke up with typical hardcore sounds and arrangements, completed a musical development that was on the rise for years in the european scene.

Ride down the slope!

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14 Responses to "Standstill – memories collector"

Interesting record, your blog is really, really, good.
I added you to my links.

thanks for stopping by, as well as for educating me on this (unknown to me) band.

jason / L-R V

hey, I just had time to skim the post yesterday and I thought it seemed familiar…

I don’t know if you seen this post already: http://clockedinpunchedout.blogspot.com/2007/11/standstill.html

don’t worry about spam, from the Refused comparison this sounds very interesting and sits well with the Ampere/Sinaloa screamo post.

@lo-res:
I added you to my links as well, thanks for link exchange

@gabba

thanks for the link and let me know what you think about the standstill record, I guess it may take some time to get into that record

I like the brass sounds in this, I like a bit of jazz in my hardcore (as a big Sweep The Leg Johnny fan), and the rock-ish energy of this band reminds a bit of the Beatsteaks; but I also find it a bit over-the-top (especially the guy’s voice) – I should say I’ve always had a dislike of ATDI and their proggy-complex hardcore sound. But that’s just my initial reaction. There are plenty of good parts to make me listen to it again.

great site, you’ve been linked over at learning how to swim.

sympathy with the sound of ATDI wouldn´t be the worst to like standstill 😉
but they have their own sound as well, which is not to proggy for my ears, but I also like ATDI very much, maybe that is the reason why

look out for my future postings, there will be some more european classics

oh yeah, I wouldn’t totally lump Standstill in with ATDI – but there probably is a connection between liking one and the other!

I look forward to more European classics… the La Quiete 7″ is proving very popular over on my blog… maybe I should do a big EuroScreamo post on June 12th for our referendum on the Lisbon Treaty!

please re-up this album…. I am very curious.
great blog!

hey dengu, your wish is my command 😉 will do it soon

reupped – enjoy! hope you like it?!?

thanks… but I can’t download it right now… I don’t know why… I’lll try later…

I am dowloading it…. olè! many thanks… I’ll let you know

aaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh shit, it is from 2002 and I first recognized it in 2008? what a shame, such a milestone of progressive hardcore! thank you urbanology, your blog is a true inspiration for me

[…] special album by a special band who changed the music scene like Refused, At the Drive-In and similar bands, wether you understand it or not is totally up to […]

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always open minded! feel free to leave a comment if you like or dislike the music, the review or just this blog in general. make the monologue a dialogue! (and receiving some responses keeps me motivated)

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