February 5, 2009 | , | 3

If He Dies He Dies, The Rise... The Fall

The Rise… The Fall, the third full-length from Michigan’s If He Dies He Dies, is my first opportunity to experience this band. These guys have plenty of street cred having toured with the likes of EyeHateGod and Pig Destroyer — hell, Mike IX Williams even contributes guest vocals to one track. Musically, you’re hit with a thick blend of thrash, progressive elements, crusty doom and even a little modern rock all wrapped up in a slick mastering from Scott Hull (Pig Destroyer).

Through the first six tracks on the disc, IHDHD hurl their entire gauntlet at your skull, laying down thick rhythms, varied guitars and a decent vocal performance. The guitar work ranges from crusty doom inspired riffing to slick, modern rock vibe smoothly. Vocalist Brent Eckhardt has some decent chops, varying is range from raw screams, deeper growls and some bluesy rock crooning.

“Heroine” starts off the album with some massive riffing and a big scream. The pace is spot on for getting the blood flowing immediately. This one is catchy as hell and definitely gets your attention from the start. There’s some nicely layered, guttural growls to add some depth to the song. The guitars after the 2:20 mark are pretty slick.

This next song keeps the momentum chugging along with some decent riffing and heavy drum work. The guitars have a similar sound to the previous track so the two blend together nicely. The vocals are pretty raw for the most part but take on a hardcore shout tone during a few lines — adds nice variety to the delivery. The drumming is all over the place on this song, in a good way.

“Destroyer” starts off with an almost breakdown like series of riffs and beefy rhythms before a quick shout comes in and the pace increases to a gallop. This one definitely has a hardcore/metalcore feel to it that sort of takes away from the doomy feel of the previous tracks. That said, I am digging the thrash influence on portions of this song.

…Like a Man Possessed
This next one starts off rather slowly with plodding riffs and spoken vocals for the first 15 or so seconds before the shouting starts. The drumming is pretty creative during this time and picks up the pace as the guitars build and swell. Overall the track has a darker feel to it, but isn’t quite as sludgy or doomy as previous songs.

The first half of this two track song starts of with some great guitar work as it gets down to a pummeling start. There’s definitely a decent helping of thrash and progressive thrown into the sludgy mix on this one. Even through the spastic drum work, there’s a thick groove that’s damned infectious.

The second track to this series features EyeHateGod‘s Mike IX Williams on guest vocals. “…bringer” has a decidedly different feel to it as is fades in from the previous tracks reverb. Thick bass sits in the background like a brooding silverback gorilla as heavy, doomy riffs plod along at the pace of a funeral dirge. This song is much slower paced, much darker and pretty badass, to put it simply.

(Save Your) Savior
I’m not really a big fan of this one. The chorus is catchy, but sort of predictable. It could also be the heavier progressive influence on the track — I’m not sure. It does have its merit, however, as the track showcases the band’s versatility as musicians.

“Paralysis” also contains some progressive elements, but it’s more subtle and mixed into churning riffs and manic rhythms. The guitars take on a pretty evil feel as the vocals dip into the deeper end of Eckhardt’s range. The tempo shifts throughout this track do a decent job of keeping you on your toes, as well. I do love the vibe to the lead at the four minute mark, especially with the drum work in the background.

Feels Like the First Time
Some bass notes and big hit from the guitars starts off this next one before the group settle into a series of memorable riffing and drums. This track builds and builds upon itself until the climax around the 3:20 mark, at which time the melodic riffs come back in and the song fades.

Baptism by Fire
The final track starts off with light guitar work that, oddly enough, reminded me of AC/DC‘s “Thunderstruck” — which is weird because it really doesn’t sound anything like it. The lighter guitar work builds till just after some softly sung vocals. The track really gets going just after the two minute mark with an increased vocal growl, bigger riffs and heavy drum work.

~ ~ ~

After not really expecting much from the album (I have no idea why), I was pleasantly surprised with IHDHD effort on their latest album. The Rise… The Fall has lots going on that should prove to satiate just about any metal fan. While it’s not a perfect record by any means, it’s still fun as hell to listen to and offers an opportunity for something a little bit different, while not going too far out there.

Favorite Tracks:
All of them

Additional Notes: