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Hate Dies Hard 

Neverending Sundown (www.hatedieshard.com)

Hate Dies Hard singer LiLi Roquelin is the kind of girl every traditional-metal guy dreams of. Growing up in France, she was known for her faithful recreation of the Cranberries' warbling, and she apprenticed in the field of theatrical hard rock by covering bands like Dream Theater. Definitely a keeper.

In Hate Dies Hard, the former Phizzy Lager singer makes her debut with a band that now sounds like a darker take on Evanescence. On Neverending Sundown, the Kent quartet's fourth release in nearly 12 years, Roquelin transforms HDH from cultish guitar-rockers to a hyper-melodic, siren-fronted outfit with a less-is-more approach that could inspire a much larger fan base. Steve Blankenship's guitars bristle and crunch, leaving the harmony to Roquelin, who holds a note like nobody else on the scene. She's not quite the looker Amy Lee is -- but she doesn't need the extra help.

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