Artist: Reclaim the Day
Release date: October 30th, 2021
Reviewed by: John Wesley
Hailing from Greenwood, Indiana, the currently 3-piece hard rock ministry outfit Reclaim the Day recently dropped their 3rd single Chokehold. This track features a guest vocal performance from Zahna, good friends and vocal coach of Becca Sugg, the frontwoman of Reclaim the Day. Chokehold is a powerful anthem for those who struggle with anxiety and the feeling of being held back from living in victory and not fear. With two powerhouse female vocalists leading the way, this track gives a whole new meaning to “girl power.” Bringing Zahna on board was the perfect fit for this song as her feature elevates the emotional pull the lyrics bring. Guitarist and husband of Becca, Marcus Sugg, sports a punishing tone with complimentary lead parts to take the track to the level it needed to be. Side note: I went to college with this guy so we go way back. We used to be on the same worship team together. Bassist Logan Morehouse keeps the low end nice and tight with his ruthlessly crunchy bass tone which carries the heaviness of the track through and through. It should be noted that although drummer Alex Beattie is no longer with the band, his performance on this single is excellent and gives an appropriate drive and energy without being too overbearing.
Chokehold busts right out of the gate with a blistering breakdown which is nothing we’ve heard from these guys in the previous 2 singles. With the intense anthemic scream “Shatter the chokehold!” the beat picks up as we get pulled through another pummeling breakdown before we hit the first verse. Becca takes the lead for the first verse which conveys what it feels like when anxiety cripples the ability to be heard and leaves you voiceless. Becca’s voice has more of a naturally dark and dense timbre than what you would expect from the everyday hard rock/metal female vocalist. Her vocal characteristics subsequently give a uniqueness with how the lyrics are delivered dynamically. There is a realness to it as the undisputed passion bleeds through each phrase. I absolutely love the bass part in the verses. Logan gives a simple complementary rhythm with the drums driving the root note with some accents that give it such nice energy and punch. With the guitar parts being more conserved in the verses with their simple yet highly effective lead lines, the bass takes control and gently but firmly punishes the sonic presentation.
Coupled with both melodic and scream vocals, the chorus kicks in nice and big with an interesting and somewhat unexpected chord progression.
“So here I’m standing on the edge now
I’m fighting just to breathe or speak out loud
The weight is breaking my back
I find myself sinking down”
Lyrically this song is very real and depicts the fight to believe in your own value through mental and emotional struggles. This chorus has just enough tension to exemplify the balance between the fight for power and uncertainty in the outcome. Much like the nature of anxiety, at any given moment for no apparent reason our minds can turn the other way and trap us making us feel helpless. Reclaim the Day sports relatable and honest lyrics, especially in this song. The guitars in this chorus have a great balance of big chords and linking riffs between phrases. The tambourine usage also adds a nice touch, giving the drums more attack. Kudos for utilizing the ol’ studio trick!
Zahna comes in on verse 2 with her authoritative, crystal clear tone. Both vocalists’ tones compliment each other because they don’t fight for the spotlight due to their easily distinguishable tonal distinctives. Zahna’s vocal delivery has more breathiness to it which adds a whole other dimension of word painting as she brushes through “It’s the way I feel inside, I know forever I can’t hide.” The breathiness helps the listener feel the same emptiness and helplessness the lyrics are depicting. Nothing much more to say for verse 2 seeing how the texture within the instruments stays consistent from the first verse which is perfect because the focus is obviously on Zahna’s feature.
The chorus comes around again and now we get to my favorite part of the song which is the bridge. This is where the song starts to claim victory and confidence that despite all the hindrances described earlier, we can choose to rise up out of it and keep fighting for peace.
“I’m taking ground, even if it’s on sinking sand, I refuse to drown. I’m fighting back even if I’m punching ocean waves. It’s time for change.”
Easily my favorite lyric of the song. As the bridge continues to crescendo dynamically we get to the climax which gives us a crushing “chaos” breakdown with the lyric “I will not be silenced!”
We are naturally given one last chorus and then the song rings out.
Reclaim the Day should be incredibly proud of themselves for stepping up the game with this release. With each single revealing an even greater potential this band has, Reclaim the Day will be a force to reckon with in the years to come for the Christian underground scene. I highly recommend checking out this single as it sports songwriting confidence, great production, excellent guitar work, dynamically convincing vocals and a universally applicable message for all to relate with. Be sure to follow both Reclaim the Day and Zahna and stream/save their music wherever you listen.
Overall rating: 9/10
For fans of Disciple, Relent, The Letter Black