Hate Dies Hard
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Hate Dies Hard

Band Alternative Rock


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The best kept secret in music


"Naive No More: A new singer rejuvenates Kent's Hate Dies Hard"

By Anastasia Pantsios

BACK IN 1996, Kent’s Hate Dies Hard put out its first release, a homemade, self-released EP called Denial, and confidently told a local publication that 1996 was going to the year it got signed. Never mind that they’d spent two years in the bedroom, had never played out and had no rhythm section. The group consisted of only guitarist Steven Blankenship and vocalist Sean Barringer, and neither had played in a serious band before. “We were naïve,” Barringer laughs now. “But you learn quick.”

What they learned was that the road to achieving the sound it envisioned and to putting out its first professionally recorded CD was long — a decade long. That CD, Neverending Sundown, recorded with engineer Bill Korecky at Cleveland’s respected Mars Recording, comes out this week.

For anyone who has followed the band over the last decade, through two more homemade releases, 1999’s Further and its self-titled 2003 EP, Neverending Sundown will sound both familiar and brand-new. It features vocalist Lili Roquelin, with Barringer moving to drums. The band has retained its heavy base topped by smooth melodies, but now the chugging metallic chords are countered by Roquelin’s sustained notes that tumble over the instrumental base like a lava flow. Though some might initially be reminded of a band like Evanescence, the music’s tougher as are Roquelin’s vocals which, for all their high-pitched clarity, have a focused, hard-edged quality and no distracted Goth dreaminess.

Barringer says he always heard a female vocalist doing the material. When he decided to switch to drums, the band began auditioning singers, hearing over 50, both male and female, in a year.

“I love the sound of the higher-range stuff,” he says. “Like Perry Farrell or Billy Corgan, or the dude from Built to Spill. So we wanted to keep that.” They stumbled on Roquelin, who moved to the U.S. from France three years ago specifically to pursue music. They’re just about given up on finding a singer, and Barringer was getting ready to record the vocals again.

“Then her ad appears, and I called her,” he recalls. “I’m like, ‘Do you know where Kent is,’ because we auditioned people from everywhere. She goes, ‘I live in Kent.’ She lived two blocks from my house. She came over within half an hour. We gave her the same song we gave everyone else. She took it and blew us away. What she wrote for the song, the lyrics were amazing, and the melodies were in place. It made your hair stand up. “The words she chooses, they’re English words, but they’re words most of us wouldn’t choose,” he continues. “She glows to me. She became the star of the movie. It’s the voice I envisioned for this music.”

Unfortunately, Roquelin’s arrival wasn’t taken well by the band’s previous bass player, who was replaced by Scott Bivens, a multi-instrumentalist whom Barringer calls “the best musician in the band.”

Barringer credits Korecky as the other piece of the puzzle the band to complete its sound. “The other records worked as acts of expression,” he says. “But sonically I knew they weren’t industry standard. With Bill, it’s industry standard. And he’s an amazing musician and individual. He gave us lessons in fundamentals, tuning and timing. That’s the heart and soul of any good-running motor.”

Barringer says the 12 years it’s taken the band to release its first real record hasn’t been discouraging.

“I don’t feel spent by it. I feel pumped,” he says. “Only when you go through those things, that’s when you start to see how it actually works and realize, ‘Wow, I know what I need to focus on.’” - Free Times

"Hate Dies Hard"

Hate Dies Hard
Neverending Sundown (www.hatedieshard.com)
By D.X. Ferris
Article Published Feb 22, 2006

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. - The Cleveland Scene Magazine

"Review of Hate Dies Hard “Neverending Sundown”"

It sounds to me as though the band are extremely professional, not only in the way they play, but in the way they present themselves as well. Everything about the Neverending Sundown CD seems professional, from the playing to the production to the artwork. The fact that they have spent the time to do things right is very important. It shows they are very serious about their art. I really appreciate that very much, and I believe others will as well. I’m very glad I got a chance to hear the band. One of the things that makes my job great is getting to hear serious new talent. Hate dies Hard are seriously good.

Bitter End: Killer ensemble playing. Excellent use of dynamics to enhance the emotional resonance of the performance. Expressive vocal delivery. Edgy, contemporary and all around fabulous.

Neverending Sundown: Not only do the songs rock, but they’re also very catchy as well. I like the darker feeling of the verses, the intensity of the lyrical imagery, and the super memorable chorus.

Erase It Slow: Bass sound reminds me of New Order and the guitars Metallica. Love how the guitar dominates the mix. Sounds very literally like a wall of sound during the chorus sections.

Style: I would say it is best described as “modern” rock with plenty of “metal” edginess. Sounds very contemporary.

Melody: What I like very much about the material is that it’s seriously heavy sounding, but that the band never loses sight of writing memorable melodies. The combination of the intensity of the performances and the fact that the material is so catchy is one of HDH’s most impressive stylistic trademarks.

Structure: There are many interesting aspects to the structures of these songs. The unusual time signatures, the darker verse sections that lead into the brighter sounding choruses, the intricate instrumental performances. It sounds both futuristic and classic at once.

Lyric: There is a line in the album’s title song, “Neverending Sundown”, that exemplifies for me LiLi’s willingness to lay her personal life experience out on the line for all the world to hear. “Losing someone you love when you’re five/Is this the right things to keep you alive?”. The fact that she’s willing to reveal herself emotionally like this is one of the reasons all of this material sounds so incredibly powerful. She’s able to back up these sentiments with her vocal prowess as well. It’s the complete package.

Overall: I singled out 3 songs to take a closer look at the material, and I listened to most of the rest of the songs on the album as well. I’ve gotta be honest with you, it’s hard nnot to be impressed by the quality of the material on this CD. The band plays extremely well together and seems very focused stylistically, which an incredibly important aspect in the best rock’n’roll bands. The songwriting is top notch. The songs are not only emotionally captivating, but they’re memorable melodically as well. LiLi has a very distinctive sounding voice. At times I wished it were a little louder in the mix, but that in fact might diminish some of the power of the guitars, and the guitars seem very important to the overall sound and feel of the group. The drumming is tight and precise, and there always is the feeling that the songs are based on a fundamentally sound groove. I love the way the time signatures shift throughout the arrangements, and yet the material never sounds overly complicated or obtuse. There’s always a strong melody line to grab for the listener to hook into.(…) There Is very little to be critical about regarding the material on this CD, but I’m still not convinced you’ve stumbles on a completely distinctive ‘voice’ for the group just yet, something that will help distinguish you from other bands working within the same stylistic territory as you are. This is a minor point, however, and the only reason I make it is to remind you never to settle for anything less the absolute best. With material this strong it seems you (and gal) could conquer the heights if you’re willing to slug it out no matter what. I can only hope for you the best of luck and thank you for putting such quality music out in the world. - TAXI (Feedback)


Hate Dies Hard.
Neverending Sundown.


Feeling a bit camera shy


"Crunching guitar chords duel with clean riffs over a steady rock beat" Brian Cochran, Cleveland Free Times

"Roquelin transforms HDH from cultish guitar-rockers to a hyper-melodic, siren-fronted outfit with a less-is-more approach" DX Ferris, Regional Beat

It all started when the two multi-instrumentalists Sean Barringer and Steve Blankenship released a self-produced CD "Denial". The EP served as a launching pad, earning rave reviews in regional zines and considerable airplay on underground and college radio. In the coming years they formed a band and recorded the 1999 full-length "Further". They launched a national radio campaign in support of the record, playing the Midwest and building a solid fan base with their progressive sound and intelligent lyrics. Through the support of independent and internet radio, HDH continue writing-recording and release a self-titled EP. With the addition of French vocalist/lyricist LiLi Roquelin to the group, they record with renowned engineer/producer Bill Korecky {Mushroomhead, Integrity}, and welcome new bassist Scott Bivens.
With the release of their 2006 LP "Neverending Sundown" "Hate Dies Hard delivers one knockout track after another" (The Stater) and get radio airplay, music video production, international press and events participation, along with live concerts. "Heavy base topped by smooth melodies, Roquelin's sustained notes tumble over the instrumental base like a lava flow" (Cleveland Free Times). "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." (Scene Magazine).

Hate Dies Hard is also on MySPACE: http://myspace.com/hatedieshard