Friday, March 30, 2012

Bitter Resolve: Bows and Arrows Against the Lightning (2011)

Fuzz and Riffs Against the Thunder

Weedeater shows must be giving people a lasting contact high, because North Carolina is turning out to be a hotbed for great doom. To the ranks of Enoch and Hour of 13, you can now add power trio Bitter Resolve.

The most prominent feature of debut Bows and Arrows Against the Lightning is the thick, fuzzed-out stoner sound. The natural drums, thumping bass, fuzzed-out guitar, and distorted high-pitched vocals are wrapped in a dense layer of electric gauze. That analog production is almost too indistinct to let the great music behind it shine through, which is a shame, because the music is very good.

Take the slower cuts from Orange Goblin, add a heavy dose of Electric Wizard, and top it off with a dash of Cathedral, and you'll get the picture. The riffs are heavy and incredibly memorable, thanks in no small part to a rock 'n' roll swing. There are more than a few nods to Sabbath, such as the acoustic outro of "A Day Without Fairies" (presumably wearing boots) and some bluesy solos.

Aside from great riffs, what sets Bitter Resolve apart from your typical stoner doom outfit is economical, dynamic songwriting. Most of their songs are done in about four minutes. Each cut explores a handful of different tempos and riffs to keep things entertaining. Many moods are also on display, with the starkest contrast on the transition from the forceful "Perfect Alignment" to the mellow "We Must Build An Atomic Blaster..." Nothing here outstays its welcome, and there's no extended space-out where you think the sound engineer was too stoned to hit the "stop" button. Assuming they had a sound engineer.

The Verdict: From a songwriting and performance standpoint, they have everything figured out. But just a little more work on the production would be nice. Then the only things they'll need are a band name that sounds more "stoner doom" than "hardcore", one of those logos that looks like it's wearing bell bottoms, and cover art from a Del Rey science fiction novel. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Ozium Records

1 comment:

  1. This is good stuff. I actually kind of like the way the production sounds. Not sure how I feel about that vocalist, though.