Review: If I Die Today – 'Cursed'

If I Die Today are a four-piece, post-hardcore outfit (Marco Fresia – vocals, Antonio Aresu – guitar, Morgan Ferrua – bass, and Davide Gallo – drums) hailing from Mondovi. Italy. The band were founded in 2007, and by the first half of 2008, were set to release their debut full-length album “If I Die Today” via Wynona Records, releasing an EP “You Are Alone” in 2009. Progressing into 2010, they released their second full-length album “Liars” with Ammonia Records, Rude Records, and Wynona Records, and in 2012 they released the EP “Postcards From The Abyss” with Rude Records and Ammonia Records. Through the years, they have toured Italy, the UK, and the rest of Europe. If I Die Today have shared the stage with Sum 41, The Offspring, Simple Plan, Taking Back Sunday, Every Time I Die, Good Riddance, and H2O, amongst others.

If I Die Today have recently recorded and dropped a Motörhead cover (October 2015) through Sliptrick Records – “We Are Motörhead” for the ‘Lemmy Knows’ compilation, a Motörhead tribute, which you can check out here 

If I Die Today have not long released their latest album “Cursed” with Sliptrick Records. “Cursed” is a 9 track concept album, with every song is freely inspired by the life of cursed characters. Inspiration taken from worldwide literature, such as Patrick Bateman, Elizabeth Bathory, Jesus Christ, and Lucifer. So this album is a little bit different from “the norm” to say the least!

Kicking us off we have “Jesus”, the first single, released with a video. This track is my one of my favourite tracks off “Cursed”. For me, it’s a great opener for the album too. It has a lot of hardcore vibes, very jumpy and catchy. A ‘get moving’ sort of vibe from this track!

“Adam” follows, with hard-hitting drums with catchy double kick’s from the start. So many post-hardcore ‘feels’ to this track. I would say this would be your sing-along/scream the words back to the band type of song. Surely a fun one live?

The bass line draws you into “lucifer” from the first seconds. It kicks in with some striking vocals mixed with the rest of the band very well. I would be sure that this track would make the place go a tad bit mental live!

“Patrick” comes in very darkly, with the guitar riffs, sliding into a heavy bass tone. With all guitars and bass riffs combined, the track has that ‘oomph’ it really needed. A slower pace than the other tracks, with a darker feel… more of an edge to the sound. This one really stood out for me.

“Elisabeth” grabs the balls, with some hard-going, screaming vocals. Different vocal techniques and rhythms have been used in this track, varying through highs and lows at different paces, all tied in with some clean guitar riffs that reminded me of August Burns Red.

“Faustus” is one of the heavier tracks here. Very heavy vocals mixed with different tempos, again tied in with clean guitar riffs, continuously changing throughout  with gripping bass lines and catchy drum patterns. Cue the hardcore pits!

“The Ancient Mariner” is the more melodic track here. A relatively slow tempo, with different drums fills, and not as heavy vocals. Later,  the tempo picks up, and the guitars and bass take centre stage.

A guitar screech signifies “Vincent”s arrival, directly firing into your standard hardcore riffs. I didn’t  find anything, in particular, that stood out for me in this one.

Finally,”Cursed”, my favorite track from this record. Starting off with very slow, melodical guitar riffs, it then kicks in with a slow snare, and a subtle bass line in the background. When the vocals hit, one minute in, everything comes together perfectly. The slow, steady pace gives a very emotional feel to the track, and the vocal reverb gives the track that little bit extra depth. Towards the end of the track, the guitars kick in together with a gorgeous riff followed by a solo, then in the dying seconds, hard-hitting drum fills collide with striking screams to fade. A perfect way to end the album.

Overall, this was an enjoyable listen I would recommend to any post-hardcore fans – A solid 6/10, especially for  fans of bands such as Feed The Rhino, Campus, Azriel, and Holding Sand. For existing fans of If I Die Today, I understand that there will be a lot of anticipation around this record, since the departure of Mike. You are in for a different sound, a treat some might say. To be honest, “Cursed” is a bit ‘Marmite’… you’ll either love it or hate it.  The band have considerably changed their style, but I wouldn’t say that was a bad thing… They have sure as hell matured in the way they write and produce. If I Die Today are a band who change their structure in order to stay connected with the scene, keeping them up-to date. Can’t go wrong with hardcore vibes!

Review by Carol Black

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