Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Posting the Nights Like These album brought about some memories from past tours I've done. I spent a lot of time in the midwest on these tours. I got to watch a lot of mosh metalcore on these tours. The pinnacle of the combination of these factors is With Dead Hands Rising. I think they called Minneapolis their hometown but as with most midwestern bands, the members were usually all at least 2 hours apart from each other.

My first interaction with the band was in 2001 when I received two CDs from the band for the zine I was doing at the time, Preserving Silence. The first disc was their debut 2001 Demo and the second disc was their portion of the upcoming Words As Weapons (Volume One) three-way split CD on Life Sentence Records. I chose to include the entire split in the upload due to Wings Of Scarlet and Tears Will Drown also kicking ass. Either way, both of these recordings were mind-blowing to me at the time, but obviously pale in comparison to the later material of the band (as all older material should in comparison to later works of a band).

I don't want to say With Dead Hands Rising were doing anything groundbreaking at the time (this was the era of ripping off At The Gates and In Flames), but they did so quite convincingly and with a bit of insight as to where the band was about to head towards. As stated earlier, I'm quite the fan of the other two bands from the three-way split, but you could use them both as representatives of what was typically going on with metalcore at the time. The difference becomes quite obvious whenever the With Dead Hands Rising tracks hit.

Not ones to waste any time, the band quickly followed up these debut efforts in July of 2002 with the release of their first full length, Behind Inquisition. This is where the tides first turned for the band. The progression made within the course of a year is quite astonishing upon looking back. Most bands are still playing out songs for a year or two before they even think about writing new material, let alone improving ten times over while producing ten new tracks for a full length. There are songs on this full length that the band included in their set list up until their dissolution in 2009. The technical proficiency apparent on this full length was becoming a stronghold for the band, an insight as to what would come in the future.

It wouldn't be until 2004 that the band would release new material in form of the Horror Grows Near EP. This six song offering would be the last to feature the original vocalist but the first to garner any mentionable acclaim from metal publications. I specifically remember being on tour with these guys at the time where they all went into Hot Topic and read through all of the metal magazines looking for reviews of the new album. They found them the reviews and they were all good ... and the band was stoked.

As stated previously the original vocalist of the band left not long after the release of this EP, but was quickly replaced by one Burke Van Raalte ... a living legend for many reasons. For the purpose of this write-up, however, we will focus primarily on his vocal skills. To no discredit of the original vocalist, hearing what a vocalist with a bit more range could do to some of the older tracks was quite mind-blowing. I have a lot of really good live videos from this era of these guys that I should really, really upload. If one were to see these videos, it can be assumed that great impressions would be taken not only of Burke on vocals, but of Kevin on drums as well.

Presumably the band did not offer a new release until 2008 due to all of the member changes that the band went through from the period of 2004 until essentially the end of the band. Trying to find musicians within 10 hours in the midwest who were capable of playing this material was no easy task I am sure. While I personally felt as though Kevin was a perfect fit on drums for the material the band was playing at the time (the EP plus two songs from Behind Inquisition) the apparently wanted to go in a faster, more technical route and sought out their final drummer, Dan. I'm not sure they would have ever been able to replace that guy if they needed to. I honestly can't even keep track of how many guitarists the band had throughout the past few years of the band. I know at one point they had four in their rotating cast, sometimes playing with three at a time live.

Regardless of member problems, the band produced their final offering in the form of Expect Hell. Remember all of the progression the band made in one year? And then in two years? Yeah, well imagine what they came up with in four years. This is a legit heavy metal album ... rarely any mosh parts, non-stop double bass, a legitimately talented vocalist with serious range and musical interludes to top it all off. The band definitely threw off some of their former mosh fan base (for better or for worse) with this one. Regretfully, however, the album didn't seem to make as big of a wave as it probably should have despite the band touring non-stop on the album for almost a year.

Unfortunately the mosh kids were left in the cold with the final release and the metalheads never really cared to take note of the masterpiece which was lingering right in front of their eyes. For whatever reason, the band broke up not too long after the release of this full length. It's quite a shame too considering that bands like After The Burial straight up steal riffs from this album (and previous WDHR CDs too) and make a living/reputation off of them. That's how life goes I suppose ... the true artists never receive the respect due. That is what this blog is here for though.

DOWNLOAD - Demo 2001 
DOWNLOAD - Words As Weapons (2002)
DOWNLOAD - Behind Inquisition (2003)
DOWNLOAD - Horror Grows Near EP (2006)
DOWNLOAD - Expect Hell (2008)


Gregory Hate said...

Thank you for this post!
WDHR is one of the most underrated bands of this era.
Too bad they broke up. But the music lives on.

"It's quite a shame too considering that bands like After The Burial straight up steal riffs from this album (and previous WDHR CDs too) and make a living/reputation off of them. That's how life goes I suppose ... the true artists never receive the respect due." - this is so true..

And please upload those videos!
Thank you one more time!

drew said...

I really appreciate all your incite on this band dude. Total nostalgia.
One time they were playing this show with my friends thrash band, Year Of Desolation, and the dude that put on the show didn't even put WDHR on the flyer.So I missed their last show in Houston, Tx. I was chillen outside with the dudes from Year of Desolation outside smoking and we go inside and what do I see? WDHR sitting at a merch table selling their new cd they JUST, JUST released. I was soo0Oo upset at the promoter for not, well, promoting the show the right way. Anyways, I bought this epic tshirt end of story.

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