Forget what you think you know about Boston Hardcore.
Beyond the stereotype of “beatdowns,” the “tough guy” exterior, the simplistic “chugga chugga” riffage, and so much more than just a mosh pit is one of the hardest working bands in hardcore: Death Before Dishonor. The band has been with Bridge Nine longer than anyone on the roster, making September 2014 a full decade with three full-lengths (one getting an expanded reissue as well), two EPs and one split on the label.
Their latest full-length, 2009's Better Ways to Die
, not only solidified Death Before Dishonor’s commitment to what they do as a band, but also displayed their unflinching ability and desire to establish themselves outside of clichés and the pre-defined constructs of what it is to be “hardcore.”
Better Ways To Die
did not come without obstacles. Member changes ensued, a new drummer was added into the fold, and the band found themselves in a spot of free agency as their contract had expired with their home since 2004: Bridge Nine Records. Vocalist Bryan Harris stated, “It was a weird position to be in since we’ve pretty much been with Bridge Nine since the beginning, but staying with the label was an easy decision for us. They’ve always cared about our band and since Count Me In
came out, they’ve grown to become that ‘next-level’ label that our band needed to move forward.”
And move forward they did, as Better Ways to Die
showcases Death Before Dishonor reaching outside of the safe hardcore formulas both in songs and content while still retaining their roots in the South Boston upbringing. Produced by Jim Siegel, Better Ways to Die
lies somewhere between the harder punk edge of Rancid, the working class anthems of fellow Bostonians Dropkick Murphys, the hardcore attack of Hatebreed and the precision and riffage of Slayer – this is the sound of a true Boston Hardcore band.
Lyrically, Better Ways to Die
is an undeniable view into the world that is Death Before Dishonor; the blue collar, overlooked, undervalued segments of society and how we all survive in the face of adversity. However, this album pushes beyond just anger and rage as songs like “Remember” and “Our Glory Days” remind us of the hope that can be found in punk and hardcore music. Further diversifying the album is “Boys in Blue”, which takes the punk mentality of “fuck the police” and turns it on the wrongful arrest and abuse of Harris’ brother. The title track is a unique view on war and its effects in a poorer neighborhood and is perhaps one of the best Death Before Dishonor songs to date.
Better Ways to Die
is the sound of defiance when all one is surrounded with is defeat and marginalization. “If it weren’t for this band, I would be sitting in Massachusetts. In the last two years I’ve been to Australia, Russia, Ukraine, Japan, all across Europe, the U.S. and Canada and I’ve seen all four oceans. We have no reason to stop now - people are now starting to pay attention,” said Harris. So pay attention: Better Ways to Die
is the new definition of Boston Hardcore. Just ask AllMusic
, who upon release of the album remarked that with Better Ways to Die
, Death Before Dishonor had "certainly blossomed into one of the top modern hardcore outfits of the modern day."
Death Before Dishonor have played over 1,000 shows with the likes of Agnostic Front, Madball, Sick of It All, Hatebreed, Have Heart and Terror, and hit every nook and cranny around the world - Europe, Australia, Japan, Great Britain, Mexico, Canada and the entire continental U.S.
The band is currently preparing to release a new album, their first in five years.