Album Review: Bitter End – “Illusions of Dominance”

Bitter End’s newest release Illusions of Dominance sees the band build on the hardcore sound they have been putting out for a while now, while stepping up their metal influences, particularly in the thrash department.  Tight and fast guitar riffs are followed by big foreboding breakdowns, while lyrics are screamed with passion.  This is a heavy hitting album that hits many different notes that will please hardcore fans.

The album starts out on a fast note with “Power and Control.”  The drums are speedy and guitar is thrashy, really bringing out the metal influence these guys have been cultivating and adding to their hardcore sound.   This one feels like a straightforward thrash song with some hardcore tendencies.  The rest of the album tends to feel like the opposite, where you can tell this is a hardcore band first, but they like throwing in those metal riffs.  This can be seen in songs like “Realm of Despair” and “Pleasure and Pain,” which are slower and more menacing, but sport some monster breakdowns.

My favorite moment of the album came in the form of the song “Conversations with Death.”  I’m totally biased here too, but I don’t care.  This is a cover of one of my favorite traditional folk songs “O, Death,” which is a dark and gritty song that translates well as a hardcore song.  The band then ends the song with a sample of the original played by Dock Boggs, who happens to be my great great uncle, or something like that.  I inherited a bunch of Dock Boggs records a few years back, and was immediately drawn to “O, Death,” so it was really cool to hear this song being redone with a harder edge.

Bitter End seems to show a little more of a metal influence, but they still stay true to slower, breakdown heavy hardcore.  If that is the kind of thing that gets you moving, this is probably going to be right up your alley.

3.5/5 Stars

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