Like fellow avant-garde hard rockers Tool and Dredg, Kent's Hate Dies Hard are more about drama than distortion. On their self-titled sophomore EP (and third release overall), the forward-thinking troupe continues to explore new avenues of extremity. Opener "Kept" is emblematic of the band's heady approach: Nimble bass and dissonant guitar tussle behind frontman Sean Barringer's tense, upper-register wails before strains of piano eventually break the din. "The Fall" is equally climactic, a four-minute heart palpitation marked by roiling guitars and ceaseless pounding from drummer Todd Thompson. Throughout the four-song disc, Hate Dies Hard bobs and weaves with a prizefighter's grace, never standing still long enough for listeners to draw much of a bead on them, but delivering one knockout track after another.
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