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Die Like Gentlemen - Hard Truths review

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Band: Die Like Gentlemen
Album: Hard Truths
Release date: March 2023

01. Guts Of A Beggar
02. Last Night On Earth
03. Whipping Boy
04. Infalling Bodies
05. In Ruins
06. Bury Me
07. Letting In The Rain
08. Harbinger Of Joy
09. Unliving

One of the most unique bands to come out of Portland is Die Like Gentlemen, and Hard Truths is one of their most intriguing releases to date; believe me, the title says it all.

The U.S. city of Portland is renowned for spawning many great metal acts, and emerging amidst this mighty fine collection of bands has been the impressive progressive sludge band Die Like Gentlemen, who formed back in 2012. Die Like Gentlemen is a band unlike any other representing the U.S. city of metal; although sludge may be at the core centre of their style, they can't just be simply be narrowed down to that one specific genre. Their style and influences go beyond just sludge, incorporating a wide variety of genres and styles into their music, such as gothic, doom, and progressive.

Admittedly (going off-topic), I'm a sucker for fancy cover art, and Die Like Gentlemen are a band I'm familiar with mainly due to their striking cover arts, and here on Hard Truths I find the cover painting (The Ocean At Night With A Burning Ship by Marcus Larson) to be the most striking of all, the colours I find most fascinating.

This brings me to what this fifth full-length release Hard Truths is all about. Written against the backdrop of the turmoil in their residing city of Portland, Hard Truths is basically what the title suggests; it takes the subject matters of politics, the pandemic, isolation, wildfires, protests, crime, poverty, the addicted, and the toll it has taken on the mental wellbeing of the affected, and put all these subjects into context on this intriguing album. Just shy of an hour long, Hard Truths shows more than just regular sludge. Yes, the chunky guitar tone is present, and the chugging slow-to-mid-tempo riffs for most part take centre stage, which is made apparent from the opening track, "Guts Of A Beggar", where you're immediately struck by the slower tempo, and deep, heavy sludge sound. However, there is also a traditional doom energy behind the track, almost sounding inspired by Black Sabbath and Candlemass, and the riffs in general aren't as sluggish as you might expect; they actually contain traditional catchy melodies.

The most unique track on the album for me has to be the heavy doom-driven song "Letting In The Rain", with intensely atmospheric built-up, emotionally striking lyrics behind the soft haunting vocals, deep heavy bass lines, and dramatically effective guitar feedback sounds, before the heavy sludge riffs and rhythmic drumming participate once again. The next track, "Harbinger Of Joy" sees another vocal style change, in which you hear secondary vocals added working alongside the aggressive main vocals; the track even features a short guitar solo (second best solo on the album, behind the one featured on "Whipping Boy"), and some of the most striking bass and drumming rhythm patterns. The final track "Unliving" is possibly the closest to sounding like traditional heavy metal, and easily the catchiest track on the album; once the opening riff kicks in, Judas Priest will spring to mind, especially with the up-beat tempo and the drumming continuously pounding away with such ferocity.

Upon listening, you will no doubt find the various vocal styles the most surprising element behind the album's structure, from the aggressive spoken word style featured on "Bury Me", to the occasional growls most notably featured on the final track "Unliving", to the aggressively raspy shouts on "In Ruins", and of course the secondary vocals which are present on most tracks.

Overall, I can't say Hard Truths is the best of performances by Die Like Gentlemen; there is nothing incredible musically that will stand out, and the vocals in certain areas slightly let the album down in all honesty. However, the emotion behind the songwriting, meaningful profound lyrics and originality are what drive this band forward, making them stand out amongst other acts in the sludge category, as well as standing out from the countless other acts from the Portland region.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 7
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Production: 7

Written on 24.03.2023 by Feel free to share your views. But be nice.


Comments: 5   Visited by: 16 users
27.03.2023 - 23:32
Rating: 9

I listened recently this one. There's really very nice stuff.

I would recommend you also Cromlech's new album, "Ascent Of Kings". Another goal in this genre. Doom Metal is giving us nice music this year.
28.03.2023 - 08:24
Rating: 7
A Nice Guy
Written by mikeprado30 on 27.03.2023 at 23:32

I listened recently this one. There's really very nice stuff.

I would recommend you also Cromlech's new album, "Ascent Of Kings". Another goal in this genre. Doom Metal is giving us nice music this year.

I've not listened to that one yet, thanks for recommending it to me I will give it a listen soon
28.03.2023 - 23:20
X-Ray Rod
Really cool sound. I can't figure out if I like the vocals or not but they do stand out from the crowd so that's something haha. It does sound like a pretty original mix of well established genres. Thanks for the review!
Written by BloodTears on 19.08.2011 at 18:29
Like you could kiss my ass
Written by Milena on 20.06.2012 at 10:49
Rod, let me love you.
25.04.2023 - 01:07
Rating: 7
Oddly enough, the one band that came into my mind more than any other throughout this album (and quite often at that) was System Of A Down. The vocals strongly resemble Serj's, which are distinctive, and some of the chunky guitar riffs were very System-like. I do think it's unnecessarily long and the songwriting could use some polish, but they have an interesting sound and there were some tracks that I got absorbed by.
"Earth is small and I hate it" - Lum Invader

I'm the Agent of Steel.
02.05.2023 - 15:02
Rating: 7
Tom Muller

Solid performance
Can you see it

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