Die Like Gentlemen- Hard Truths
Record Label- Drink This Music
Release Date: March 17th, 2023
Ten years after their debut album, Romantic Delusions of Hell, Die Like Gentlemen still reign supreme in the Portland Underground. This band gives you Black Sabbath and Melvins tinged beer-goggles that make you fall madly in love with them only to wake up the next morning to System of a Down. It’s refreshing, as an artist, when I hear other bands that just take all of their influences and drop them straight into a blender. However, Die Like Gentlemen leave the lid off to splatter all of that influence goo around the kitchen (yes I said goo; moist, moist goo). They seem to make no apologies as they thrust their sonic fists straight up the anus of the listener (I still haven’t decided if that’s a metaphor or not).
The album is called Hard Truths, and it’s a love-letter to whiskey breathed sludge rockers. It’s best enjoyed with a rocks glass full of bourbon and a cigar. These dapper dudes live up to their band name, dressing to the nines and lighting the beacon for any band that wants to rock hard and look good doing it. The entire album is dripping with so much masculine energy that Hemingway may not have shot himself had he heard it.
The album starts with a the pummeling riffs of “Guts of a Begger” that remind me of Masters of Reality-era Sabbath before melting into the psychedelic bridge that dissolves and then crystalizes into what seems to be a pontification of humanist ethics. Next is “”Last Night On Earth”, which has elements of Manowar but with more fuzz tones. I can’t say enough about the dirty guitar tone of guitarist/singer Adam Alexander and guitarist Matt Wieber. It’s enough to make Matt Pike do a Rodney Dangerfield collar tug (if he ever wore shirts). I’ve got to be honest, “Whipping Boy”, made me consistently warp my face into a realm of “stank” that were I in public, people would think I was smelling a gnarly fart every eight seconds. Following this, the delightful bass grooves of Sean Rogers had me bobbing my head to the rhythm of “Infalling Bodies”; a track so Doomy, I had to light sage and smudge the house.
The disarming soundscapes of “In Ruins” fades in and drops out from under the listener in favor of a headbanging riff and punky Danzig-styled vocals that get the mosh pit started. There was a balding bearded guy in Houston that I would always see at shows in my youth that would headbang with his whole upper half from the waist. I can totally see him lurching his entire body forward as I listen to this song. It’s a wonderful testament to how music can bring up memories. The tremendous tom-work of drummer, Shawn Boles, leads us into the next song, “Bury Me”, which the band has already released as a single.
This song is spacious, and it allows the predominately spoken-word vocal delivery soar over the rhythm. “Letting In The Rain” is next, and it feels like a love letter to both Led Zeppelin as well as The Doors. The lyrics paint a picture of absolute destruction and misery; all appropriate for the style of music delivered on this album. “Harbinger of Joy” follows as what singer Adam Alexander describes as a twenty year old, “love-hate tug of war with alcohol.” The fact that he wrote this track twenty years ago still blows me away, and yet it brings my heart joy as an artist. It’s always beautiful when something creative finally finds a home.
The album closes with “Unliving”, which sounds like what would happen if David Vincent sang for Sabbath. The harsh vocals were a lovely touch as they accentuate the rhythm of the main riff. The track continues to pummel before abruptly ending, leaving the listener wanting more.
These gentlemen (see what I did there?) are living life on their own terms, and they seem to be unyielding in their ability to blend classic guitar tones with modern aggression. It’s a testament to the freedom we love to see in the modern era of music. Die Like Gentlemen tell it to us straight, and live up their aptly named album. However you won’t need a spoon full of sugar to help this medicine go down; just a dash of whiskey and bitters on ice.