Handsome As Sin
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Handsome As Sin

Los Angeles, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014

Los Angeles, California, United States
Established on Jan, 2014
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Music

The best kept secret in music

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Tell Me How You Died is poetry and pain delivered with a six-string hyperemic. Max Waller and Chuck Riviera play rock and roll as it should be played.

The band calls itself bad-ass Southern California Rock. I think that description just scratches the surface. This is head banging head music. Intricate, powerful, hypnotic and thoughtful. It is so good that it is habit forming, but you can’t OD on it.

These guys will wrench you out of your comfort zone like they did me at a club one night in Hollywood after the band I had come to see finished its set and I decided to stay for the next one, although I didn’t know anything about their music. It is Handsome as Sin and I was hooked.

Tell Me How you Died reminds you that rock is rebel music, dark music, music about real life and real feelings, real pain and real ecstasy. Their music is all of those things – powerfully so – but much more. Maxton Waller and Chuck Riviera have joined their talents into something far greater than the sum of its parts. Their music is totally male, stripped down and sharply pointed, it takes no prisoners and no excuses. And it is good, very, very good.

The 8 song album, now out on iTunes and downloadable at their website, took 14 months and three studios to perfect. The band’s founder and vocalist , Maxton Waller is a perfectionist. Nothing is left to chance; every note and every word is planned sanded down to fit exactly where he wants it. Lead guitarist Chuck Riviera has range from complex rifts to screaming shreds, all in perfect alignment. As a bonus, drummer Kevin Bligh, a power in his own right, brings pitch perfect beats to the effort. Unlike many hard rock drummers who pound away so hard on a high-keyed snare that they compete with the vocals instead of support them, Kevin uses the kick drum, the tom-tom and padded sticks to match, but not overpower the guitars and vocals, but doesn’t forget the snare when it is time break out and kill.

The title song, “Tell Me How You Died” , is first person narrative, a tough talk from a man who is about to become your nightmare. It makes you close your eyes and see the images – like it was written for a film, a very dark film. With lyrics like:



I’m the breathing

On the other line

The hate causing pain from another time

I’m the barrel

and the shotgun spray

I’m the son of a bitch who took your daddy away



You know this is take-no-prisoner music. But then, maybe it isn’t, because the next stanza makes you think:



I’m a glass house

throwing all my stones

The fears you can feel all the way in your bones



This black poetry is delivered with guitar slash and vocals that range from tight control to primal screams – all carefully aimed to hook you like a flopping fish on a line and haul you into their world of pain and need.

To me, the pinnacle of the album – and that is a very high judgment – is “Nothin’ Worse”, built on a hypnotic guitar tempo with a sharp bass backbeat that erupts with kick drums and tom-toms into a steam-engine of a song that proclaims “I am here to kick ass and take names.”



I’ll break your bones

I’ll break them clean in half

I’ll make you wish for the day you were born so you could take it back

And when we’re done you gonna feel like you been through

Hell and back



But, like everything else they do, Handsome as Sin is deeper than that. There is a reason, this is not just pure meanness – there is history here.



You’ve crossed the line f *ckin with my life/ now I’m calling you out

I’ll take my time til I get your every ounce

Ain’t gonna be easy, bet your ass that this is gonna hurt

And when we’re done you gonna know that you been through

Nothin Worse



Other songs on the album, like “Static” , “Outlaw”, “Shambles” and “All I want is a Beer” add more power and darkness to the album, each carefully calibrated to extend the feeling of the earlier songs while not duplicating them. The standout “Money” (originally titled “Walkin”), tells a story of desperation and greed with a freight train drumming and eerie guitar echoes constantly driving forward. But in the greed and desperation the band’s head music lyrics emerge, making you think, giving you a peek into the forces driving the song and the singer. As with the other cuts on this album, each time you hear it, you learn more.

At the end of the album, when you are drained and the band is soaked in sweat, comes “Flying”, soft and melodic, with a jazz beat and big acoustic guitar and vocal harmonies and hooks that could slip into any pop playlist. But even here, Max and Chuck can’t quite shake off the pain and the dark rock, as the song winds down, an electric guitar breaks in with a thick-stringed rift backed by a heart-beating kick drum to open the door for Maxton’s muffled screams carrying into a Chuck Riviera high-key shred , and then settling back down to a soft finish.



Like I said, Tell Me How You Died is rock and roll as it should be played – poetry and pain delivered with a six-string hyperemic.



Patrick O’Heffernan - VENTS Magazine


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio

Handsome as Sin initially formed in the fall of 2012, when Max Waller (vocals/guitar), looking to get back to his bluesy/country roots after the dissolution of his previous band, enlisted longtime friend Chuck Riviera (lead guitar) to be a part of a new group he was putting together. Conceived as an 'outlaw country' band, the two quickly learned that their styles led to a more straight up rock 'n' roll sound, with a bluesy, southern edge. Within a couple months an EP's worth of songs had been written, and the duo headed into the studio to record their debut album, 'Tell Me How You Died.'


"Tell Me How You Died is poetry and pain delivered with a six-string hypodermic. Maxton Waller and Chuck Riviera play rock and roll as it should be played." -Patrick O'Heffernan

Playing their first show in February of 2013 in their hometown of Los Angeles, Handsome as Sin quickly gained a reputation among fans as a live act not to be missed, with a live show that has won over everyone from bar patrons to venue owners. Keep an eye out for them performing around Los Angeles, and on tour around the country this April.

Band Members