Saturday, 24 January 2015

Die Like Gentlemen - Five Easy Lies (Album Review)

Five Easy Lies cover art

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 03/01/2015
Label: Independent

Five Easy Lies’ CD Track Listing
  1. Unstoppable
  2. Ahrriss The Wizard
  3. Animals Of Romance
  4. Stray Demon
  5. Hidden Switch
Die Like Gentlemen Is

Sean’ | Bass
Shawn’ | Drums
Adam’ | Guitars/Vocals
Matt’ | Guitars

Review

Portland’s Die Like Gentlemen play an inventive, slick mix of sludge and doom with a touch of the progressive about it. The four piece have constructed an intelligent and, frankly, pretty sexy offering with their second full length, ‘Five Easy Lies’.

Opener ‘Unstoppable’ kicks in with a nice crunchy guitar tone and a riff that sounds like its straight from a cast off Metallica track, prominent bass mirroring the stop-start guitars and some nice galloping drum work underpinning the whole deal. The chords become surer and maintain a thoroughly agreeable pace before stopping entirely, replaced by tom-heavy drums and a moody bass crawl. Big, bombastic vocals and shimmering, seductive guitar chords enter the fray, before things drop into a heavier, sub-Mastodon riff with shrieks and growls aplenty. There’s a touch of Neil Fallon by way of Matt Pike in the vocal delivery, especially in its more intense depths.

What becomes abundantly clear is that DLG aren’t afraid to mix things up. ‘Ahrriss The Wizard’ transitions from initial creepy guitar chords, cymbal splashes and tense bass into a fuzzy, crawling main riff with a wailing guitar overlay, and then into a stop/start section that toys with tempos and has sparse guitar flourishes like dazzling pyrotechnics. ‘Animals Of Romance’ maintains the variation, with a guitar riff straight out of Karma To Burn’s playbook, some more restrained, melodic vocals that lock in with the tight rhythms of the snare, and a galloping pace that is toned down into a fragile, vulnerable version of the main riff. Things get heavier and more twisted, with the drums getting an absolute leathering, before changing yet again into a lush, delicate piano and acoustic guitar melody.

Stray Demon’ is arguably the album’s stand out track, a towering edifice of riff and groove. Big, big drums and a nice grunty bassline propel things along at a swaggering pace, and there’s a lot of confidence to the commanding main riffs, dizzying guitar, frantically tapped solos and bawdy vocals. Its brevity perhaps works in its favour, as the only real complaint one could level against the album is that other tracks have repeated sections that drag on a little too long.

If ‘Stray Demon’ is the stand out, ‘Hidden Switch’ is the heaviest. Massive, tribal tom patterns and feedback are pushed aside for a lumbering, deliberately paced exercise in building tension. The held chords and stabs of whining guitars lead into a decent, stomping KYUSS-esque main riff, which progresses through some dual guitar work and a sleazy as fuck solo before propelling things into sub-thrash territory before fading out.

Overall, ‘Five Easy Lies’ is a storming record. Far from suffering the pitfalls of the ‘difficult second album’, Die Like Gentlemen have given us a seductive, ballsy and self-assured record that is as slick as it is substantial. If this is the sound of them lying to us, you’ll never want to hear the truth.

Words: Jay Hampshire

Thanks to Die Like Gentlemen for the promo. Five Easy Lies is available to buy on CD/DD from BandCamp now.

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