Till We Die is a band with a decent name that doesn't really deliver the goods. They are another one of those screamo style rock acts that looks to blend soft melodic sections with heavier, more hardcore inspired parts. The problem is that there are many bands out there that do it better. Sure, they have some nice and crunchy guitars and some decent drums, but they are better than the sum of their parts.
Pressing On is the debut CD from this Massachusetts based four-piece. It has an enticingly sparse cover design, a field of black with the band's skull and angel wings logo with their band name around it and the album title below. It is nice in its simplicity, promising something with a harder edge, but edge that features a softer side. Once you open the case and put the disk in, you will discover that the impressions of the cover were correct. Melody coexists with heavy, both in pretty much equal proportions to each other.
Till We Die is a band that does show a decent amount of promise, but they just aren't quite ready for primetime. The recording doesn't do them any favors, as it sounds like a local demo CD. The drums are buried in the mix and lacks much in dynamics. It's rather awkward listening to it. The mix is not their fault, I will try not to hold it against them, but a good mix could have gone a long way to ma them sound better as a band.
Something that really didn't work for me was the way the melodic and hardcore sides blended, or rather failed to blend. It was like there was an on/off switch, except rather than say on/off it said melodic/heavy. The two elements never come together on any middle ground; they were either off to the heavy side of life, or they were softer and more melodic. The same structure repeats for much of the length of the album, never offering much in the way of structural variety, or any coming together of the two sides.
It was a sound that has multiple personality disorder, or maybe it's more manic/depressive, whatever the case, it never quite works. Then there is their vocalist, Mitty, in many of the songs he sounds off, like he isn't trying or doesn't quite have what it takes. There are some notes that sound flat, and some of the delivery lacks the conviction of the emotion being conveyed. There is something to his voice that could be good. He has a very clean side and a pretty good scream, he just needs a bit more focus. On the otherside, the highlights are definitely Joe DeMarco on guitar and Dave Stewart on drums. Both of these guys have pretty good styles and offer up interesting passages.
The album opens with the lackluster "Ride" before moving onto the equally blase "Slave." The structure repeats through most of the disk, and if you can last until the end, you will be in for a surprise, as Pressing On closes with their two best songs, and a promise of what they could possibly do. First is "Ting" which opens with an interesting bass intro that sounds a bit clocklike before moving into a heavy grinding riff with moments that border on a Tool styled dirge. It has a great groove and is better than anything else thus far. That is followed by "Apology" that opens with a soft guitar intro and actually feels like there is genuine emotion behind it. So, if you can make it, you may actually like the way it closes.
Bottomline. There are many bands that are in this style that do it much better, but I have a feeling they have a wild live show, sadly it is not replicated here. With a poor mix, a mediocre singer, and only two truly good songs, I have a hard time recommending them, but I would keep a sideways eye on what they do down the line.