"I see changes in your eyes," sneers Sean Barringer on "Blind," the opening song on Hate Dies Hard's four-song EP. The Kent rockers' moniker may peg them as a hardcore band, but the lacerating guitars and chanting vocals have more in common with Tool than, say, As I Lay Dying. Barringer sounds especially powerful on the melodic "Last Laugh," where his high-pitched wail echoes effectively against the noise. Elsewhere on A Tension, the undulating "Weak Link" comes off like a beefed-up Modest Mouse, and the delicate intro to "Hellbent" (a cover of a hip-hop song by Kenna) gets downright scary. After this terrific EP, there's no reason Hate Dies Hard shouldn't be major players on the local hard rock and metal scenes. — Niesel
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