Bitter End - Guilty as Charged (Cover Artwork)

Bitter End

Guilty as Charged (2010)

Deathwish, Inc.

Adjectives are a reviewer's best friend. They are indispensable to describing all aspects of a music product, from the guitar tone, to the lyrics, to the cover art. Usually there will be a variety of adjectives one can use to portray to the reader the various ingredients in a record: guitar tone can be gritty or thin; vocals can be smooth or nasally; and production can be full, compressed, or even unrelenting. For Bitter End, there is one word that adequately describes every part of this release, from single aspects to an evaluation of the product as a whole. One single word, above any other comes to mind...

Bitter End is hard. The riffs are a constant pummeling attack–catchy, but always hard. The vocals are forceful and aggressive, kind of like a less wild John Joseph, and on the whole: hard. The lyrics on this release cover topics like the judicial process and regret, having titles like "Corrupted Souls", "Means to an End", Broken" and "Victims". The production is clear and full, with heavy guitar sound and boosted bass levels, making for an overall sound that is undeniably hard. If "hard" is an ideal sound or vibe in hardcore, Bitter End is the perfect band. Even the cover art is hard.

Luckily for me, hard can be good, as I thoroughly enjoy this record. The band knows what it does well and goes after it completely. It might seem as if the band is too focused on one sound and emotion, but this is the modern age and I have next to no attention span, so this streamlined approach comes across as honest and makes for an easy and enjoyable listen. I mean, there's definitely something to be said for setting a mood and sticking with it, because in reality, it's not that easy. In fact, it's actually pretty...hard.

With all of this talk about being hard, the band does take two notable respites from its general sound. The bridge of "Unjust" and the following track, "Sueños Muertos" see the band taking a trip into a clean Spanish guitar style, complete with matching drums and tons of reverb. It makes for a nice break from the constant riffing and shows the band has some real chops. And then when the next track, "Inborn" starts, it just sounds that much more hard.

In simple conclusion, if you like "hard," check this record out.