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Survive This! seem to have come out of nowhere. Forming in 2009 in Las Vegas, the band have exploded in recent months in Australia, going from being relatively unknown here to being simply unable to miss with the amount of hype that’s been going around surrounding their latest album ‘The Life You’ve Chosen,’ recently released through Epitaph Records and produced by Ronnie Radke.
Beginning with the title track, which for the most part is a pretty strong opening it leaves a good first impression. With a sound that resembles bands like Escape The Fate, the song thrives from a catchy chorus with a strong chord-based ‘woah’ vocal harmony. The problem though, is that the first impression doesn’t last. Second track ‘Where I Belong‘ is a synth-influenced pop punk track, bearing a strong resemblance to Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! that is also seen on the following track, ‘Coming Clean Takes Heart,’ which is, to be blunt, incredibly boring, and doesn’t do the band any favours.
The production of the album is quite inconsistent, with some tracks (for example, ‘The Life You’ve Chosen,’ ‘Lessons In Deception,’ ‘Sail Away‘) showing some very strong production work, while other tracks (for example, ‘The Seed‘ ‘10 Years “I’ll Never Be The Same”‘) sounding almost unfinished in parts, with the production having left the tracks feeling hollow and dead, which is particularly noticeable in the breakdowns of these tracks. Rather than being the heaviest point of the tracks, which is the obvious intent, they sound completely empty, and it doesn’t help that Shawn Zyvoloski, while delivering some great clean vocals throughout the album, sounds as if he is struggling to force out his vocals while screaming, which only adds to the emptiness.
Of particular note is the track ‘Wrong Direction “Hey You”, which features guest vocals from Radke. The track is the band’s attempt at mixing sugary sweet pop (that sounds as if it could genuinely fit on any One Direction album) with screaming and breakdowns. You don’t know if this is serious, or some kind of satirical joke (which, given the title, is entirely possible), but either way, it isn’t good. In fact, it wouldn’t be shocking if you found yourself literally laughing at this track.
Now, all of this said, the album isn’t all bad, particularly on the back end. The last three tracks finish the full-length off very well. ‘Lessons in Deception‘ and ‘Sail Away,’ while being completely different from the title track, give off the same positive impression. Similarly, ‘Father,’ while being a bit of a cliché ‘acoustic build up’ finisher for some bands in the metalcore genre(think a similar structure to A Day To Remember‘s ‘If It Means A Lot To You‘), is a strong, sincere track, that does enough to set itself apart from similar songs in the genre, and finishes off the album well, leaving things on a positive note.
All in all, ‘The Life You’ve Chosen’ isn’t a particularly fantastic release. That said, it does have its redeeming features that save it from being completely cast off, and there are some tracks on here that people are bound to love if they give them a chance.
- The Life You’ve Chosen
- Where I Belong
- Coming Clean Takes Heart
- The Seed
- 10 Years "I’ll Never Be The Same"
- The Story Fails
- Wrong Direction "Hey You"
- Lessons In Deception
- Sail Away