Feb 13, 2012

Bitter Resolve - Bows and Arrows Against the Lightning ...

Bitter Resolve are a fuzzed-out stoner doom outfit from North Carolina. Within seconds of pressing play, all the obvious references points are there. Saint Vitus, Cathedral, Weedeater, Electric Wizard and the hardcore side of The Melvins is what comes across in these grooves but of course there is also lashings of sabbathian riffage as well. One thing has to be said right away, the production is a major issue with this release. I love deep, fuzzy, distorted sounds as much as the next guy but the production here is almost a complete wall of sound, almost to the point where everything is indistinguishable most of the time. This doesn't do the songwriting any favors and the riffing, which is great by the way tends to get lost in the sonically excessive wall of noise.

Because of the rough production, you have to listen very closely to identify a lot of what is going on but it is still worth the effort. While the band stick to the classic stoner and doom style most of the time, they also blend in other approaches that catch you by surprise. There are punky passages and even grunge elements that pop up within the doomy, stoner fuzziness so at least it keeps you guessing where the songs will go next. There are only 6 songs and roughly 27 minutes worth of material and that time goes past fast with the way these songs are put together. 'A Day Without Fairies' which I am guessing is a nod to Black Sabbath's 'Fairies Wear Boots' is the opening track and a instant winner despite the production flaws. It is a diverse track in its own way that even has a acoustic ending section that caught me totally by surprise on the first listen.

'...An Arch That Spans Regret' is a very good tune but seems to end while it is still progressing to something like there is a section missing, maybe there is a part-two in the works? 'Perfect Alignment' is a powerful track that leads into the more mellow and psychedelic 'We Must Build An Atomic Blaster...' so the band does have more than one trick up their collective sleeves. 'Molly Brown' has the grunge element that I referred to earlier and comes off as a bit of a throwaway track because of it. It is not because of the "grunge" thing, it just sounds ordinary compared with the other five tracks on the EP. The EP ends on 'Large Hadron Collider' which is another solid tune with great guitar work. Bitter Resolve manage to fit a lot in its 27 minutes of this recording. On first spin, it may seem kind of straight-forward but with various mood changes, tempo shifts, and the addition of some bluesy solos, this EP stays interesting for its duration. Lovers of the fuzzy riff will find plenty to get excited about with this release, just a pity the production doesn't do it justice....7.5/10.

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