On a surface level, it’s easy to wonder what the current milieu of emo rap artists making the waves have to do with rock music, but Lil Lotus, Zubin, and Nedarb have reconnected with the emo and post-hardcore that they grew up listening to with a new band, If I Die First.
From First To Last guitarist, Travis Richter, is also on board to give a mix of the older and newer wave among its members, and the band’s debut release, ‘My Poison Arms’, is now ready to get stuck into.
A dramatic metalcore intro opens proceedings in the form of ‘No Serenity’. It’s a little hackneyed, sure, but it certainly helps to get our attention and set the scene.
‘Where Needles And Lovers Collide’ kicks things off for real, and whilst the production is certainly very 2020, this is a near perfect delivery of 2000s emo-core, with an infectious hook to boot. We have lots of angsty screams, but not without some Underoath and Saosin-esque melodies; the vinegar-and-honey approach is definitely successful.
‘Is It Me Or Your Secrets That Keep You Up At Night’ has more of an emphasis on melody, but its ending breakdown is an invigorating highlight. You will have to be on board with the more high-pitched, projected vocal delivery that appears sometimes, but If I Die First have a strong grasp of both key aspects of post-hardcore already.
‘Burying A Parent’ also features some rapid-fire call and response vocals that really drive the verse before the melodies soar.
Closing out the EP is the acoustic-based ballad, ‘I’ll Never Let Them Hurt You’, which is unfortunately a bit too far on the cheesy and saccharine side of things, but at least its sentiment is at clear and well-intentioned.
Whilst the quality of these songs is generally up and down, there’s still lots of positives to take from ‘My Poison Arms’, and there’s plenty of potential to be explored for a full-length.
Musician, writer and football fan. Enthusiastic about various forms of hardcore, alternative rock, punk and metal, and pop history.