Today, Friday, July 31, Virginia’s Lost Apparition Records will release Hubris Aggression, the debut album of Bittered from York, PA, and we have a full stream of it to share with you.
Bittered was spawned in 2014 by Paul Folk, founder and long-time guitarist for the Maryland death metal band Exterminance and drummer Dennis Matos, both of whom had played together in other bands that had their roots in punk and grind. Paul Folk and Bittered’s vocalist Kasey Harrison are also members of a grind band called Police State. But although Bittered’s lyrical themes share a political focus with some of the members’ other projects, the music goes off in different musical directions — and there’s not much light at the end of those tunnels.
The music is bleak, blasted, and… bitter. The riffs — whether they’re pounding like hammers, whirring like drill bits capable of boring through bank vaults, or chugging like a freight train — vibrate with ugly distortion. The drumming (which has a very organic, “you’re right there in the room with it” sound) erupts in snare bursts that simulate the racket of a military firing range, with you tied to the target. And Kasey Harrison’s caustic shrieks and coarse growls are saturated with bile and fury.
If you’re looking for a genre classification, think about a mix of sludgy doom and vicious death metal, with some grindcore explosiveness kicking down the door here and there. When Bittered are driving in the low and slow lane (which is much of the time), the atmosphere is thoroughly grim and oppressive. And even when they jam the pedal down, shift into higher gear, and get your blood pumping, the music hits like a runaway plague epidemic. In other words, there’s an ill wind that blows through this album, from start to finish.
As angry and hopeless as the music is, Hubris Aggression is also a gripping listen. By turns crushing and eviscerating, head-butting and hard-driving, the music catapults the listener into a landscape that’s falling apart everywhere you look, and big sinkholes are opening up beneath your feet with each step. That kind of thing does tend to get the adrenaline flowing, even when you know there’s no way out.
I do encourage you to listen to the whole album, but if you want a taste of the contrasts within it, listen to “Push It Down” and “In the Skies” back-to-back. If you dig that experience (and survive it), go back to the beginning and get the full treatment.
To repeat — Hubris Aggression will be released by Lost Apparitions today and can be ordered here:
You can learn more about Bittered at these places — and you can make a digital pre-order at the first link below: