The Casket Lottery – Survival is For Cowards

The Casket Lottery
Survival is For Cowards

The Casket Lottery seems to have done everything right. Like a lot of other bands, they started out sounding much like their influences, a fact that seemed to brand them as derivative from the beginning. But relentless touring and a slew of compilation appearances, EPs, and other tracks have helped the band develop their own sound. Featuring two ex-members of Coalasce, The Casket Lottery have truly come into their own on Survival is For Cowards.
The music here will be comfortable for fans of emo and hardcore, although The Casket Lottery manages to lie somewhere between while mingling bits of math-rock and straightforward rock. With dual vocals, powerful guitars, and complex, intricate bass and drums, the band managed to sound complex yet comforting, raw and passionate yet tight and precise. And on their latest album, their music feels much more harsh and bitter, a mood perfectly fitting their music’s intensity.
The album starts off incredibly strongly, with the stellar “Code Red.” The track runs the gambit from intricate percussion and moody vocals to driving guitar and yells during the chorus, truly showing the band’s dynamic. Centered around the emo standard intensity and driving guitars, it’s the vocal approach and layering of sound that makes “What I Built Last Night” really stand out as unique, and “The Bridge” has more of a moody quality, similar to Engine Down at times. The deep, throbbing, almost groove-filled bass and intricate percussion takes the lead on the unique “For Apples,” while, in contrast, “Searchlights” is a nicely flowing track, melodic and moody.
The songs don’t vary much from there. “Getting By” is a good combination of the styles: melodic and flowing one moment, harsh and raw the next. They go the pop-punk route on the up-tempo, high-speed “Sick,” and get more mellow with keyboards and acoustic guitars on “Leaving Town.” And “Heaven Help Me” finishes off with a fine dose of up-tempo midwestern emo, high-powered and intense.
The one thing I can’t figure out is how easily The Casket Lottery seems to be to overlook. When you hear them mentioned, people talk about bands they sound like instead of this band’s own music. With this album, I imagine that’s going to change. Moody and urgent, intricate and complex, raw and passionate, Survival is For Cowards is a brutally honest look at life from this band’s fully developed perspective.