“The Life You’ve Chosen” is the debut album from Las Vegas electronic hardcore rockers Survive This!. With a sound that brings together melodic vocals and poppy sing along choruses with deep hardcore growls and chugging guitars, Survive This! push genre constraints further with experimental style electronics to make an overall sound that is their own. It is admittedly hard on first listen not to pick out these very differing styles as individual parts of each track but as you ease in and get a feel for the album as a whole it starts to gel together and make a lot more sense.
The title track opens with clean catchy vocals but quickly the verse starts with growly snarls, I can’t help but think that the difference between the two is a little too stark and would personally like the vocal in the verses to be cleaner as the lyrics are lost at the start. Where they do become clearer later in the track the hardcore themes of the lyrics show how the combination of melodic vocals and angry screams are used more effectively, connecting to convey the emotions running through it. Though the style then changes vastly with ‘Where I Belong’, a real pop punk sing along with added occasional growly bits. Where the second vocals are completely clean the two really complement each other and where the guitars get a little heavier they stay just within the pop punk style, which unfortunately does make it feel like a compromise of sorts.
The album takes a heavier turn in the middle with track ‘The Seed’ sounding particularly more aggressive though there is still room for a catchy chorus and some electronic beats towards the end. Then something rather odd happens ‘Wrong Direction (Hey You)’ is so poppy it feels completely out of place. Featuring Ronnie Radke the track does still have a few of those growly vocals we’ve become accustomed to throughout the album but once you’ve got your head around the already challenging mix of styles present this track does still have you scratching your head ! Radke a supporter of the band after meeting them in Las Vegas, produced “The Life You’ve Chosen” and the Falling In Reverse frontman also appears in the video for track ‘Where I belong’.
The album then reverts back to form with ‘Lessons In Deception’, displaying some stunning guitar work whilst sticking with the slightly heavier sound of previous tracks, coming to an end with the acoustic ‘Father’. ‘Father’ shows vocalist Shawn Zyvoloski’s real talent for pouring his emotions into the performance in a very personal feeling song indeed.
In all, reflecting back on this album as a debut it feels as if Survive This! know where they are going and for fans of Falling In Reverse this album is worth a listen, however it still feels as though the band have some more experimenting to do. From an album with such a bold mix of sounds in “The Life You’ve Chosen” I am interested to see how the band develop this over time.