Variety is evidently the spice of life, at least according to the old adage. Since metal’s embryonic days in the late 60’s, bands have attempted to infuse variety into their particular form of molten music. With many of these bands, the musical variance is obvious to even the non-metal fan, such as the differences between, say, “Beyond the Realms of Death” and “Freewheel Burning,” or, traveling to a more recent era, “Credence” and “The Leper Affinity.” But other bands go for a variety that would be completely over the heads of the uninitiated. Such is the case with Germany’s Bitterness. On Genociety (get it?!), they straddle the line between Teutonic thrash, early melodic death metal à la The Red in the Sky is Ours, and melodic black metal from the Dissection or Naglfar mold. To those not well versed in all things heavy, it would probably all just come across as fast noise, but to the headbanging masses, it is a very fine amalgamation of tried-and-true metal styles.
Bitterness use the variety to their advantage. Songs that are almost pure thrash are as fun and aggressive as we have come to expect of the style, while more melodic songs contain the icy emotion created with harmonized tremolo riffing. Opener “Suicide Squad” fits into the first category, with vocalist/guitarist Frank Urschler sounding quite a bit like Kreator’s Petrozza with both his voice and instrument. Add in some war lyrics, a sample from Full Metal Jacket, and well placed tempo changes, and you’ve got a blast of a thrasher to get things going. “The Human Resource Derangement” is another of Genociety’s pure thrashers, and contains an especially aggressive guitar solo which plays well with the progression of the song’s main riffs. “Down in Flames” represents the other end of the spectrum, calling to mind those aforementioned Naglfarisms with lightning-fast tremolo picking over various tempos courtesy of very able skinsman Andreas Kiechle.
Genociety is perhaps most engaging when the band melds these styles together, creating a blend which isn’t as original as it is fresh and well written enough to give your neck a good wrecking. This blend is best heard on songs such as “Dehumanized” and closer “Bone Daddy.” The former, the longest song of the brief album (a very efficient 35 minutes), is a multi-sectioned mini epic containing some absolutely massive guitar harmonies on the chorus. The latter manages all of the craft of the band’s more melodic traits while ending the album at the peak of its aggressiveness. It’s also a supreme little package of ass-kickery too, let’s not forget that part.
No complaints can be made of the professional musicianship or production. The slightly old-school guitar tone and drum production are fitting for all aspects of the band’s sound. Bitterness also chose to employ far less echo and atmosphere in the mix than many of their melodic influences, no doubt to place equal emphasis on their aggression, a decision that works entirely to the benefit of the band.
The amount to which you will enjoy Genociety can really be determined by asking yourself a few quick questions. Do you love your thrash, particularly the zee German variety? Good, check. How about either Swedish melodic black metal or earlier melodic death metal? Even better. Add it up. If you are a fan of any one of the three styles you should give Bitterness a listen; a fan of all three means you should hear this post haste. A pleasant surprise proving that originality isn’t always as important as interpretation. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to spin the album again while investigating their back catalog.