Review Summary: Six Side Die's debut EP lacks the texture of Bryan Crouch's previous endeavors, but with so much anger, rage, and hate on board, it's tough to deny them a promising future.
As frontman of the intense hard rockers Hail the Villain, Bryan Crouch had a growing fanbase surrounding him and his fellow Canadian headbangers. The festival life was pointing in the right direction for Hail the Villain after their amazing debut Population: Declining
, but after considerable touring behind bands like Disturbed and Avenged Sevenfold, Crouch’s sing-scream combo from Hell began to wear out. Surgery and recovery was in Crouch’s future, causing him to make a big decision and leave Hail the Villain after seven years as the singer. The recovery life just wasn’t enough for Crouch and he bounced back in a brand-new project called Six Side Die, with their debut being the My Enemy EP
. Crouch’s legacy in Hail the Villain circles Six Side Die like a storm cloud, but unlike his previous band, Six Side Die lacks the same insatiable hooks and textured emotive drive that made Hail the Villain one to watch.
“Break Me” is a torrential maelstrom of loose time signatures and Crouch’s one-two punch of singing and screaming. The beat is tough to follow, but above all of the other songs on the record, “Break Me” is a song that feels more like Hail the Villain. Crouch belts out “hate me, hate me,” bringing back memories of Population: Declining
while still showing that the band has some new ideas. It’s a metal anthem that feels perfect for Crouch’s palette; intense, hook-laden anger-in-a-bottle that doesn’t skimp on the rage. If the band’s future album sounds like “Break Me” prepare for another massive onslaught from Crouch and friends.
But the My Enemy EP
has some serious issues as well. The lack of significantly intricate guitar solo work is discouraging, as the bands' musicianship always seemed to give Crouch’s lyrics that extra shove toward incredible wrath. Squealing guitars and crashing cymbals make subtle appearances in “My Enemy,” which also holds a remarkably catchy chorus from Crouch, but the songs’ compositions feel too much like their more-popular screamo peers instead of the more focused recordings in Hail the Villain. This all comes to a head with the derivatively composed “Die For,” which makes it seem like Crouch isn’t pushing himself far enough. Its simplistic chorus and underwhelming riffs just point toward your typical metalcore band instead of that steady brew that metal bands reach for. This is similar in the slower “Heart is Dying” track, which slows down too much to fit comfortably in Crouch’s library of hate-driven metal anthems. Crouch’s shattering tone just doesn’t work with a trivial piano line in the background. “Heart Is Dying” is a hollow track, through and through.
After his amazing stint in Hail the Villain, seeing Bryan Crouch finally bringing the hate again is simply incredible. He has a fantastically brooding, but active singing style, but it doesn’t feel fully fleshed out on Six Side Die’s EP to start. The lyrical hooks are there, but there could definitely be some more bracing and creativity from the musical side of things. The guitar riffs are thick, but hollow; the drums heavy, but evanescent. Still, Crouch doesn’t stop when he belts out “MY ENEMY!” at the top of his lungs, and his very presence retains a lot of what Hail the Villain had. As a debut EP, Six Side Die’s My Enemy EP
is a respectable effort for a band with unprecedented potential. Crouch’s role in popular alternative metal continues to grow, and though it’s not as raw and furious as his past band’s debut, Six Side Die are making the right steps. They’ve brought a good (but not great) amount of fist-to-face power to an otherwise deprived alternative metal genre.