Sometimes a record comes along that just floors me and it's hard to find words to put to paper. I've had a couple of records do this to me lately and Dead Hearts most recent effort, Bitter Verses, is one of them.
If I had to choose three words, and three words only, to describe this release, they would be gritty, anthemic, and underdog. The latter part of 2006 was looming with new releases that pushed the boundaries of the epic. With releases from the likes of The Hope Conspiracy, This is Hell, and Converge contending for that number one spot on your iPod, we almost overlooked one record. As Bitter Verses hit iPods, CD players, and turntables across the nation, it was clear that Dead Hearts were in the fight as a contender.
I must admit that I took Dead Hearts with a grain of salt on their previous releases, but Bitter Verses solidifies this band's place in the sun. Bitter Verses starts out slow with an ambient track called "Somnium" that does a great job of setting the mood for the rest of the CD. Sleep and dreaming are constant themes throughout the entire record. "Dusk" is the first example of that, "Will we ever see our dreams again? / Will this dark night ever end? / These are the restless times / These are the sleepless nights." "Fail" exemplifies the incredible anthemic properties of this band in a similar feel to "Bright Lights, Burnt City" from their previous album No Love, No Hope.
All of the songs on this record are simply titled with only one word, but each track, for being so simply titled demonstrates a depth that most hardcore bands rarely ever touch. The lyrics for this release are exceptional, and frontman Derek Dole belts them out with immense intensity and personal conviction. "Dawn" finishes out the album by bringing every element of the record into one track. It's anthemic, brooding, and mellow without leaving a bad taste in your mouth.
With a record this good it is hard to find even one thing that I don't care for, that one thing that would keep it from being a perfect ten. If there is one thing that could keep this record from spending weeks unchanged in my player, it's the record's predictability. While each song is crafted very well, they all sound pretty uniform. Uniform? On a hardcore record? I know it's a thing of rarity but it does happen from time to time. This can be a good or bad thing, but in this instance, this writer likes it.
With as polished as this material is, it is obvious that Dead Hearts spent plenty of time honing their craft, and it shows through the entire record. Dead Hearts is on to something here, and Bitter Verses is their promise for more to come. If ever a record earned it's way into a collection, it's this one.
9.0 / 10
"Buffalo is the second largest city in New York State but it's dying slowly, it's a cold gray place: rusting where the Niagara River meets Lake Erie. I've seen a ...
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