My Bitter End – Nostalgic Sentiments EP (2013)

There is an extraordinary amount to be said for the rose glasses of nostalgia. For instance, how often have you re-listened to an album which got you into heavy music – or even the first album you ever owned a hard copy of – only to find yourself let down when it wasn’t anywhere near as good as you remember it being? For me, it seems like a routine occurrence. Few albums seem to be able to truly withstand the test of time and the subsequent barrage of new artists entering the constant tug-of-war for my album-du-jour. My Bitter End, however, are one of the acts which has managed to hold my attention ever since their debut release entitled The Thin Line Between Heaven and Here found its way into my library. The New York-based progressive deathcore outfit would soon after swap labels and go on to release The Renovation, an album heralded by many as a classic, and a pioneer in its own right, for the genre.

After a lengthy hiatus and another change in labels, My Bitter End are back with We Are Triumphant Records and their latest EP, Nostalgic Sentiments, which continues to push at deathcore’s boundaries, blending technically savvy shredding, crushing heaviness, and stunning songwriting to create an experience which not only reminisces to the days of The Renovation, but also pushes the band forwards into new uncharted and unparalleled levels of deathcore mastery.

From the very beginning of “Chemical Abundance of Stars in the Halo (CASH),” the listener can tell that Nostalgic Sentiments is far from the average grindy deathcore experience. With a guitar tone that can only be described as mesmerizing, the track seems to trickle along at first, subtly shuffling its way into the limelight. However, before too long, “CASH” pulls back the curtains on the album, unleashing a hail of pounding drums and shrieking high-pitched screams which sucks the listener into the EP ear first. “CASH” segues perfectly into “From Far Away,” which puts on display the true beast that My Bitter End have crafted. This track, along with the duration of the release, truly show what the band is capable of: dynamic, shredding leads with lacerating, punctual breakdowns and punishing slams juxtaposed perfectly with melodic, subtle undertones which gives the listener much needed breaks when they least expect them. It’s the dynamic between these two respective elements which makes Nostalgic Sentiments a truly marvelous experience. While the heavier, more severe parts of the release invoke memories and fondness of the The Renovation-era My Bitter End, the newfound harmonization and dynamism hints at bigger and more grandiose things to come for the band. If we’re being honest with one another (and let’s be honest there, that’s the entire point of a review, isn’t it?), the real draw to My Bitter End is the crushing heaviness the listener expects from them. On this front, Nostalgic Sentiments does not disappoint. While there is certainly more than an average amount of fast-fingered fretwork, there is a near equal amount of lacerating, skin-peeling and bone-breaking slams and breakdowns. “The Dividing Line” is evident of this, where shreddy solos and incessant riffing shine like golden thread throughout a quilt of unstoppable heaviness and no-punches-pulled brutality. Heavy, skin-splitting chugging and machine-gun speed drumming push the song along down to the last seconds, where even then, the song continues to roar like a turbine engine. Indeed, few moments of any album release recently can match that of the absolutely punishing and pervasive destruction found throughout the last half of “The Dividing Line”.

However, where Nostalgic Sentiments is relentless and devastating, it is also peaceful and beautiful (or as peaceful and beautiful as a deathcore act can be). My Bitter End show unequivocally progressive song writing talent with some of the harmonies and serenity found in some of the EP’s more obscure corners. “Neighbors” manages a beautiful melange of technically divine drumming and riffing, while also including subtle, wonderful clean vocals which, rather than sounding forced or contrived, flow naturally and tickle the ear. This meshes perfectly with the atmospheric solos found smack in the middle of “Insistence Phase,” alongside the lead guitar work throughout the introductory track, “CASH,” which, if I haven’t made abundantly clear, has a crystal-clear guitar tone well above that any I have ever heard. The EP concludes with a choice sample from The Shawshank Redemption, which eloquently ties the entire experience found within Nostalgic Sentiments into a nice, well-spoken package: the feelings, emotions and wonder found within the EP are too diverse and numerous to dwell on each one. Rather, they combine dialectically to create an entire ecosystem of sound and majesty which is unrivaled by any of My Bitter End’s peers.

Whether you’re a fan of The Renovation or any of the other efforts put forth by My Bitter End is irrelevant to the glory that is Nostalgic Sentiments. Regardless of sentiment, nostalgia or emotion, the EP is simply glorious. Dynamically written, atmospheric yet crushing, technical yet straightforward, and serene while indiscriminately violent. If you are looking for a heavy end to your progressive/technical metal, or a melodic touch to your downtuned, sinfully heavy shred, then My Bitter End have the EP – or rather, the experience – for you.


For Fans Of: And Hell Followed With, A Different Breed of Killer, Knives Exchanging Hands

By Connor Welsh ~ Me Gusta Reviews