My Bitter End

The Renovation

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The title of My Bitter End's second album, The Renovation, is an open admission of recent changes within the group, which brought in replacements at both the singer and second guitarist positions, and redirected their vision towards a more technical, versatile, and brutal, convergence of heavy metal and hardcore elements. This was unquestionably accomplished, and even though the 2000s are positively fraught with precocious young bands excelling at the art of all-over-the-place-itis, My Bitter End show admirable talent for siphoning their oodles of influences into frequently memorable tunes. As usual, it's all a matter of contrasts, contrasts, contrasts; switching from oppressive bouts of roaring, grindcore-like intensity into musical chords and even uplifting melodies and back, at the drop of a hat -- all the while skewing traditional rock song structures as a matter of course. Highlights within this dizzying maelstrom include "To All Things Expendable," with its unusually linear bursts of speedy metal riffs; "The Suburbs Breed Showmen" and "Subtleties," with their soaring harmonies mixed with vicious, math-metal breakdowns; and the troublesomely titled "Comfortable with Corpses," with its near-black metal blastbeat assaults. The title track, too, provides a stellar example of the band's trademark flurries of twin-harmony guitars (like Thin Lizzy at 78 rpm), while occasional atmospheric interludes ("It's Time," "Dirt Helmet," etc.) might distract from, but hardly condemn the general proceedings. All in all, The Renovation thrusts My Bitter End into the thick of a crowded and competitive extreme musical scene, but at least they appear to be going into it with renewed focus and commitment.

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