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Bitter Fall/Sweet Rise
This week's update By: Dan Madole     visit dwf music forum
Buy it! ...it’s attractive to a mainstream audience and still has enough of that “underground” feel to stay credible in those circles. Personally, I like this CD a whole hell of a lot and wish there was more recorded stuff to listen to.

Bitter Fall/Sweet Rise
Hexagon Records.

This is quite possibly the best CD I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing. Not so much for the music but for the attitude in which I was given the opportunity. Through a series of replies on an internet forum, I was offered a fell set of links to download the disc, just for my enjoyment (and enjoy it I most certainly have). I downloaded the songs and decided that this CD was in desperate need of a review and some exposure. So, with no further ado, I present one of the best bands from Canada, ever.

Starting off with the aural overtones and moody synth of “One More Time,” it becomes obvious that the singer put his soul into the lyrics and the singing of them comes through. Equally worth noting is the fact that nothing happens when you expect it to. For example… when you expect the song to just intensify, it does so in spades. Just in “One More Time,” when the song gets more intense, you just expect them to turn on the distortion. Instead, they turn it into a blistering assault that you just know would be nothing short of a religious experience live. And then, at the end of the song, it just ends with the singer’s voice echoing into the distance somewhat eerily and out of sync with reality, but it fits, somehow.

The second song, “Drown,” has a hard act to follow, but this one relies more on melody and making the voice and guitar match each other for a haunting feel. The use of synth and effects in this song seem to be better-orchestrated than most bands of their ilk can come up with. “Butterflies And Black Skies” is a good song… can’t really say much more about it, it’s just a solid song. It’s possibly the only song that really doesn’t stand out in my mind. One of eight though is a damn good ratio. “Angels Don’t Lie” employs something heard often, but never so well used: acoustic guitar.

The way it’s played makes the song rise above the typical ballad style. When the bass comes in, you can feel the way the song is subtly shifting. Then when the song goes from acoustic to electric is another of those “experience” moments. “My Sweet Valentine” seems like something of a change for the band, starting out as an industrial assault on the senses. The verses are supported by the drummer’s excellent use of a breakbeat. Suddenly, the song drops off in intensity and gets soft… again, something that isn’t really what you thought was coming. Then, the shift back to heaviness isn’t quite where you want it to be, which makes it even more in your face.

Altogether, it’s a well-designed song that is truly a chance for the band to shine. Somehow, even the best bands take something of a wrong turn for the sake of diversity. “Sweet Rise” could have been one of them. Thankfully, it manages to be a love song of sorts that feels like it has the cheese factor turned way up, but also seems rather heartfelt. But when you listen to the words and realize what it’s really about, then you realize the words and their true meaning.

Following that is the very weird, for lack of a better description, choice of a cover, embodied in a remake of “People Are Strange” from The Doors. Now, the remake is great, don’t get me wrong, but doing a cover on an eight-song CD might not be the best way to use space. But… if it works, it works. The cover fits well with the rest of the tunes. Finally, the pinnacle of the CD… usually, the last track on a CD is vastly different from the rest of the disc, usually softer and more subdued, and more introspective. Instead, Bitter Fall takes a turn for the opposite and provides one of the more pointed and louder songs on this too-short CD, “How Is This Going To End?”

It seems that it’s going to end up being at least a song short of satisfying, but I think that was the aim of only including eight songs here. They want you to want more. Well, with a CD like this, a combination of hard rock and techno/industrial, I know I want more of them. Sure, the combo’s been done before, but this is one of the few times where it’s attractive to a mainstream audience and still has enough of that “underground” feel to stay credible in those circles. Personally, I like this CD a whole hell of a lot and wish there was more recorded stuff to listen to.

Until there is, I’ll wear this one out on my copy and pimp it out to anyone who will listen. If you want to listen yourself, you can go to Bitter Fall website and order the CD directly. Bitter Fall is fucking awesome.

Dan Madole

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