"If he dies, he dies" - a poker-faced line-reading courtesy of Dolph Lundgren inspires a batch of men from Muskegon, Mich., to match riff and rhythm with truthful exhortation. In 2003, bassist Ephraim and drummer Daine, working-class brothers in both blood and rhythm, found like-minded musical partners in guitarist/vocalist Tom and guitarist/vocalist Brent, and what spilled forth was a collective appreciation for hard-nosed intensity and music-as-release philosophy: IfHeDiesHeDies. Such is a band that commits itself to truth instead of trend, that approaches music-making as an instinctive need instead of exhibitionist self-indulgence. Songs became explorations of right-brained passion and left-brained solidarity, genre-be-damned dynamics merged with metallic fists of fury. Live shows represented their ferocity, becoming transformative, tooth-chipping blood runs, wholesale liquidations of negative energy bordering on purification ritual. In early 2005, a two-day studio session resulted in IfHeDiesHeDies' six-song recorded debut, a self-titled EP properly exhibiting the group's singular synthesis of lyrical upheavals channeled through the machinery of disarming melodies, chug-and-slash riffs and layered, but never unwieldy, arrangements. Freshly recorded material further fueled the band's desire to play live, building its fan base in dive clubs, dusty cornfields or dingy basements. Consistently averaging 8-10 shows a month, the strength of the group's performances have resulted in gigs with The Black Dahlia Murder, Mastodon, Symphony in Peril, Bear vs. Shark and The End, as well as a series of Midwestern tour dates supporting Eyehategod. Peer underneath the aggressive heavy metal hyperbole, and what becomes obvious is IfHeDiesHeDies' dedication to its musical mission, its roots in grit-under-the-fingernails hard work - and, of course, the cold calculation of a fictitious Russian pugilist. IfHeDiesHeDies: Not just another band about dying, bleeding and crying, but rather, living as if each day were its last.
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