If I Die First- “My Poison Arms”: Rawring 20s Screamo!

If I Die First - Where Needles and Lovers Collide (Music Video)

Sunny Verma, Culture Writer

If I Die First, is bringing screamo/post-hardcore full circle to the emo rap fanbase.

The band is made up of Emo Rap Artists Lil Lotus, Zubin, Nedarb, Rake (Ghostmane) and Cayle Sain (Ghostmane) along with screamo/post-hardcore veteran Travis Richter of the group, From First to Last.

The group’s debut EP My Poison Arms shows their love and appreciation for screamo/post-hardcore. Their relatively fresh sound will encourage people who are not familiar with the genre to give it a chance.

The love and effort that If Die First put into My Poison Arms results in an endeavor that pays off. This EP manages to capture the sound of post-hardcore while making the sound feel like its own.

There is also a lot of playing around with those different shades of heaviness which is best exemplified on the first single, “Where Needles and Lovers Collide”.

The guitar work of Nedarb and Travis captures both heavy breakdowns and fast riffs of post-hardcore while Rake and Cayle Sain of Ghostemane exemplify those aspects by bringing a hard and tight rhythm section.

There is also the implementation of keyboards within this EP’s sound which is done by Zubin. The keyboard provides great melodies and sections which adds to the emotional sound that is on this post-hardcore project.

The reason that If I Die First comes as their own entity is that they have a great range of vocalists which adds to the dynamics of the songs on My Poison Arms. The four vocalists of group each contribute something important to the sound which shows the variety of different vocal styles in post-hardcore.

Lil Lotus’ scream vocals provide a raw and angry style such as on “Where Needles and Lovers Collide” while his higher emotive clean vocals bring a heart on his sleeve performance throughout the EP.

Nedarb’s low to mid clean adds to a more mellow palette which works very well with both Zubin and Lil Lotus like on “I’ll Never Let Them Hurt You”.

Travis Richter provides the heavier scream vocals which provides great intensity on “No Serenity” and “Is It Me or Your Secrets That Keep You Up At Night”.

Zubin’s mid to high clean vocals bring more of an atmospheric and moody approach as well as great emotional harmonies with the other vocalists such as on “Burying a Parent”.

As the title suggests, the song is about the tragic passing of Lil Lotus’ father. The lyrics do a great job exemplifying this loss, “There’s so much that I wanted to say to you/But I left it on a note in the waiting room.” The song shows that post-hardcore is willing to tackle personal subjects even if it is very tragic.

By having a heavier sound, the emotions on this record feel more real than if sound was scaled back to be more accessible.

Production is always an important factor to music in general which especially applies to this style of post-hardcore since it should not fall into the trap of sounding like a 2000s record. Thankfully, Nedarb and Travis Richter understand this and make the EP sound like it fits today’s standards.

My Poison Arms is a post-hardcore project without sounding like it is trying to be something else which gives newcomers a solid representation of this style of post-hardcore. This EP shows that there is still an importance to be raw, emotive, and passionate in music.