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Die Princess Die - Lions Eat Lions

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Artist: Die Princess Die

Album: Lions Eat Lions

Label: GSL

Review date: Oct. 15, 2006

Die Princess Die don't believe in the power of subtlety. They like to synchronize the guitar, bass and snare, get them all hitting on same rapid fire beat. Between these cathartic moments, they explore a lot of textures - shimmery guitars, sampled loops, murky bass leads and lopsided beats. Lions Eat Lions works best in juxtaposition, when grooves give way to clobberings.

Half the tracks here hug the two-minute mark. They aren't overly concerned with finding lyrical hooks, so the brief numbers end up more like demonstrations of punishing riffs rather than complete songs. Die Princess Die seem suspicious of their grander moments, as if opening up to echoing vistas is a sign of wimpiness. But the results here suggest that they're just the sort of band that pull off dramatic rock moves without coming across as drama queens. Self-absorbed frontmen can sink a strong arrangement with self-pity. The vocals on Lions Eat Lions are so secondary, and so annoyed, it's a fault that's unlikely to ever burden this band.

The rolling Bonham drums of "Jack" fit just fine with the stop-start dance punk guitars. It took me a while to place where I'd heard such an effective mix of arena rock and experimentalism... Killing Joke. Like that band, DPD keep shifting from artistic to brutal, and their lack of comfort in either camp leads to their most original moments. The menacing bits are when they tone it down, and the pop sensibility comes through when they're at their loudest. Maybe that sort of schizo approach inevitably leads to a mixed bag - this album is as scattershot and unique as anything in the Killing Joke catalog.

The cerebral side of Die Princess Die is complete. Now they just need to remember this: Don't fear the Reaper.

By Ben Donnelly

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