God And The Abyss
Bitter Grace maraud around a similar musical wonderland as did Xian Death in their heyday - crashing guitars, catchy lyrics and more sex than you can shake your thing at - only Gustavo Lapis Ahamad's gang manage to do it in a slightly more tuneful, and less arty fashion.
After the gentle introduction of the opening instrumental 'Beneath The Ocean Black', 'Special One' kicks things off at full pace and is almost Iggy-ish in it's urgency. 'Sane' continues the upward trajectory with a rapturous chorus, and excellent lyrics like: "She's gentle as a passing storm". Things are slowed down for the album's first ballad, 'Nothing Here', which excels thanks to the juxtaposed wah-wah guitar over the chorus and the steady building of the layers of guitars.
There are a couple of near misses, 'Ashes In The Rain' is a bit limp and the vocals on 'Precious' sound a little hollow, but when you have storming tracks like 'The Very Last Goodbye' then you can afford to have weaker moments. The undisputed highlight of the album is 'Fever' which rampages over the same ground as 'Spiritual Cramp' with an energy all of its own, and is no less anthemic.
The instrumental tracks may be nothing more than extended refrains from the other songs (for example 'Requiem' is just the harmony to 'Nothing Here'), but that doesn't really matter - because as soon as track 9 is under way you know that this is one album that you will come back to time and time again. "Fever, fever! Spit, spit love!" (PB)