Die Happy's debut featured four members of Vengeance Rising and vocalist Robin "Kyle" Basauri, who was suppose to just be a guest vocalist. The music is still heavy and retains some of the Vengeance sound, but adds a bit more groove. The fast thrash riffs are still present in songs like "Cage". ("Cage" was originally written for the third Vengeance Rising CD and was originally titled "The Wailing" and was played this way on the "Once Dead" tour.) However, for the most part this CD sports a more mid-paced heavy metal approach. Of course Robin's vocals are what really separated this disc from the Vengeance sound. Where Roger Martinez was a rough, aggressive thrash growler, Robin has a powerhouse singing voice with a wide range that reminds me slightly of Ray Gillen (Badlands) or even Rob Rock. The lyrical themes are less serious than on the first two Vengeance discs as well. Songs like "Bone Doctor" show the band's sense of humor. Others, however, echo the more evangelistic and serious side of the band. This is probably one of the best discs most people have never heard. My copy is autographed by Glenn Mancaruso (drums), Doug Thieme (guitars) Larry Farkas (guitars) and Roger Dale Martin (bass).
1. "Sticks and Stones"
Die Happy gets even further away from the Vengeance thrash metal sound and adds more funk and groove into their sound. New bassist Greg Chaisson (ex-Badlands) had an obvious hand in the style change as his bass is featured quite a bit, especially in the instrumental "Cole's Atomic Funk Thang." His writing with Badlands is quite apparent throughout this disc. Robin Basauri is back on disc number two and is now listed as a full fledged member of the band. Another big difference in this disc from the debut is that Die Happy has added a few power ballads to the mixture. Robin's powerful voice does an excellent job on both the heavy and the mellower numbers. To be quite frank, his voice was a major contributor to what I liked so much about this band. Two of the best tracks on this disc are very different sylistically from each other. "Justified" is a heavy groove metal number with a hook that could catch a whale, while "Temple of the Soul" is a tender ballad that is every bit as compelling. "Volume II" is a great follow-up to the debut. My copy is signed by Larry Farkas, Doug Thieme, and Glenn Mancaruso.
Die Happy - Intense Live Series Vol. 4 (Intense) 1993
A short live in the studio EP that was released as part of a series along with Deliverance, Mortal, Tourniquet, and Rose. If the liner notes be true, then most of this was recorded without edits and in one or two takes, proving this to be one tight band. The "in studio" stuff is just bits of the band talking or goofing around in the studio. "Temple of the Spirit" features an extended acoustic jam in the middle and Greg Chaisson's vocal premier. While it was interesting to hear, Greg is nowhere near the vocalist of Bassari. His raspy, 'can't sing, don't care' style would sound better on a down and dirty blues record. Overall the entire disc is a rather mellow affair for the most part, with much of the material being acoustic. The heaviest song is album opener "Justified" although the studio version of Volume II is heavier. "Endless Love" is a new, unreleased ballad. "All Over Me" is a smokin' blues cover that was originally written by Petra.
A tid bit of useless information about the five "Intense Live Series" discs. When you put the five together, the spines create a complete photo of a red electric guitar.