Your Chance to Die is your chance to mosh. Roaring with the kind of intensity that first drew me into the death metal genre, this South Carolina quintet refuses to sacrifice melodies for volume, and they keep the riffs blazing fast with rapid-fire rhythms with purpose – beyond someone frantically beating on a drum, as if slowing down for a tempo change would cause a bomb to explode.
One of the first comments to come from most new discussions about them tends to revolve around the vocalist being female. Nina Llopis and Sarah Anthony have shown me that ladies can lay down the mosh, but it’s still something of a rarity – and it’s especially a rarity to hear it with a Bruce Fitzhugh, Steve Rowe level of vocal brutality. The genre-defining growls vocalist Melissa Avila (Missi, for short) emits are deeper and more guttural than what many screamers can manage, regardless of gender. She’s not some gimmick for the sake of selling a record. She is metal, The American Dream proves its musical worth quickly by opening with a tune that sounds as if it could come from a soundtrack – it reminds me of Masami Ueda at the beginning – before ramping up into furious rhythms, with guitar shredding that surely runs the risk of setting fire to the stage. While there are a couple of tracks I tended to skip, I could listen to the coda of “Ma’Vet” by itself, over and over. “Acedia,” “Renenet” and others get my blood pumping with their invigorating intensity.
The technical precision of the riffs almost creates a synthesized, bolstered by the occasional (and obvious) post-production manipulation. Still, a glimpse at a video or live performance proves these rockers to be the real deal, as fingers move expertly across the frets and drumsticks fly with purpose.
The themes of the album turn the idea of a dream into more of a nightmare. A lament begins the journey, before delving into topics like religion, lust, egomania, suicide and spiritual complacency. While the themes may be dark, it warns of a life lived for self, rather than lived for God; “Conscience” warns about finding out after death that there is a God, “and you, my friend, were mistakenly not Him.”
My absolute favorite bands tend to be those that produce tunes I find myself singing even when the music isn’t playing. Your Chance To Die doesn’t quite reach that level; even so, this is probably the best album in this style that I’ve heard in the last few years. If you like intense, growling metal, this is a must-hear.