It's time for another SMS CD review, and as promised, it's the only EP from Sault Ontario hard rockers Borderline Divine, back when they were known as Stillbroke! Entitled "Never Enough", it was independently released for sale in November 2009, and was available to purchase through 2010 at local merchants before going out of print. It was produced by Miguel Gauthier at Stereo Soul Studios and was mastered by Andy Krehm at Toronto's Silverbirch Productions, and it was Stillbroke's only studio release before their 2010-2011 hiatus, name change to Borderline Divine, and eventual breakup in 2012. The EP features the band's 2009-2010 lineup, including frontman/guitarist Jesse Frigault, guitarist (later drummer) Sam DeDominicis, and then-members Kyle McKey on bass and Jenny Hooper on drums. I can't confirm it's level of availability on torrent sites, but select songs are available to listen to on YouTube & the Stillbroke MySpace page, so search around to see if you can track it down! 5 songs are on this EP, let's begin with the first song! (Updated on September 29th, 2012)
The EP kicks off with the title track, "Never Enough", and it's easily my favourite song on the disc! Bass and drum intro leads into a very catchy song! Jesse Frigault's vocals are at their best on this song, using his full range effectively! I think what appeals this song the most to me is the high energy, while remaining heavy at the same time. My only real qualm is the solo, which could use more energy to fit the song, but that's minor. Might not be the best song to headbang to, but this is Stillbroke at their best, catchy hard rock that anyone can listen to! Definite highlight on the EP!
Next we have "No Reason" (the only song on this EP to survive in the Borderline Divine era), and if you've heard Stillbroke's old studio recorded song "Sick and Tired" from last year, this should be very familiar, as the songs are extremely similar. That's not a bad thing though, I liked "Sick and Tired", and "No Reason" is just as good! Slower than "Never Enough", but just as heavy, it takes a more subdued approach, particularly with the vocals. Another nice groove to this one, easy to get your toe tapping to it. I like the solo a lot more on this song, but I still prefer "Never Enough", which I find heavier and more energetic, though "No Reason" is still a quality track!
Following this, we get a ballad, entitled "Forget". Being the heavy metal fan that I am, you'd think I wouldn't as inclined to listen to slower songs, but that ain't true at all. This is a very well done song! I remember this worked extremely well acoustically at their Verdi Hall show earlier this year, but it's great plugged in too! I find that the songwriting shines on this song, you can feel real emotion in the singing as well! Definitely a good song, though I still prefer Stillbroke's heavier side, but of course, that's the metalhead in me talking. This is followed by "Wash Me Away", the only song on the EP that wasn't released before it came out, so I came into this with no preconceptions. Good song, but there's no real "punch" to it like the first couple songs had. It just kinda glides along, steadily being good, but no risks are taken. The guitar work is really good on this one, and Kyle McKey's bass is at top form here, but overall, I did like the first few tracks more. Still good though!
The final song is "Tear Me To Pieces", which is heavier than "Forget" but lighter than the other album's tracks. It's a very well performed song, though if you're expecting a heavy closer, this ain't it. I think this song has my favourite guitar solo as well! It seems very light, especially the intro. The verses are the best part to me, and it varies enough to succeed more than "Wash Me Away". I just wish it was a bit heavier, but in a sense, ending the album light like this just increases the anticipation for more, and that's good, cause I definitely wanna hear more from Stillbroke!
Overall, it's a solid debut from one of the more promising young bands in the Sault area! Stillbroke won't appeal to everyone, but speaking as a fan, I have to say that if you're into bands like Seether and radio rock bands like that, you'll really enjoy Stillbroke. Jesse Frigault's a great singer with a good range, and is very skilled at the guitar. The rest of the band are also very talented, Sam DeDominicis and Kyle McKey hold their own throughout, never playing badly, while Jen Hooper is dependable and very good behind the drumkit! If I have to criticize, I'd recommend taking some more risks and play more songs like the title track, which I've listened to repeatedly (but again, that's personal preference.) Great first release, and I can't wait to hear more from Stillbroke, and to see them live again! Buy this EP, there's a lot to like!
So there's this month's review! As I've previously mentioned on the SMS, next month's review will indeed be "Woods IV: The Green Album", and that will come on December 1st (saying that it arrives by then.) How about reviews in 2010 though? I have a tentative schedule worked up, but you'll just have to wait and see what's next. Possibly a new or upcoming album? Maybe a band from Sault Michigan? Or maybe an old album? Details to come on January's review in a few weeks! Stay tuned tonight or tomorrow on the SMS for a new news post, which will include news on "The Green Album", last night's Ace Frehley concert, information on an upcoming Battle of the Bands, and more! Thanks everyone!