review by Rachel LeBlanc
A mountain glacier, slowly moving as not quite detectable by the humaneye, yet still making progress. As it slides across the terrain, water starts to trickle off, creating a steady stream. This tiny momentum builds, gaining on itself and growing larger and steadier, more powerful. Soon a river is formed, and before you know it, rapids are chaotically, crushingly smashing against the rocks and cliffs, “Annihilat(ing) Everything That Exists” in its way. Finally the path grows wider and calmer, slowing as it approaches the great open sea.
This metaphor represents the layout of almost each song contained on the self-titled debut release of Seattle band Beast, Please Be Still. When I popped the CD into the computer, iTunes designated their music as “Easy Listening.” Perhaps those in charge of determining genres had not listened past the first leisurely five minutes of opener “Order of the Golden Dawn.” Ah, what a shame if so, as this instrumental five-piece denotes itself as greatly adept for creating one hell of a build-up. In this track, a simple folk-like string introduction leads into a Latin influenced section, culminating into a wall of sound with a Balkan band feel all around. A sampling of different influences is heard throughout their repertoire.
One other rouser is “Mastodon March, Smilodon Smile,” with its jazzy opening, lazily leading into the climax. The pinnacle of this song is appropriate to its name, a full-forward marching feel of a big-band blow out. Don’t be faked out by the lulling middle -- this song gets a second wind before letting out.
I did notice this introductory album to the band was missing a bit of the gusto their live shows boast. Talking to violinist Jonah Byrne, I was informed this is due to the songs being their older material. Although not fully similar to their live shows, this CD is not really lacking in any way. If new material is already in the can, I’m already impatiently waiting for it.