One of the biggest thrills that I still get from music and writing about music is being smacked up side the head by some new band or (in this case bands) with a release out of nowhere or with their debut, and this release actually knocks it down with both bands on the record. Each outfit brings their own take on the burgeoning shoegaze and atmospheric infused metal to Bittersweet with two songs a piece as well as a collaborative song and a collaborative remix providing six tracks to get hooked by the bands that are represented on this split / collaborative effort.
Iroha hail from England and is comprised of Andy Swan (former of Final), Diarmud Dalton (Jesu), and Dominic Crane; the band plays a style of music that is not far removed from that of the other projects of two of the members. The two individual songs from Iroha on Bittersweet are excellent examples of blending atmospheric elements, beefy sounding guitars and mellow vocals with hints of catchy melody; Wish Upon A Star contains a rather clear bounce to its rhythm and vocal arrangements while Somethings Got To Give uses a hefty sounding guitar in the chorus to contrast the mellow verses in the song.
Fragment. is a one man project from France that also treads similar waters as its counterpart on this split and collaboration with its two solo tracks but ratchets up the heaviness a tad more than its partner. Turning Around comes complete with a powerful rhythm arrangement and the guitars higher in the mix than the keyboards (an almost exact opposite from Iroha) while still using the mellow vocal styles to create a powerful sound. The second song from Fragment., Carved In The Sand, is a much more mellow affair but is still, ultimately engrossing.
The title track of this record is the collaborative song from both musical outfits, and it continues in much the same vein as what Iroha and Fragment. offer individually but somehow seems a bit more hypnotic; but it may just be the song itself and not the combination of the two acts. The remix is a much different sounding version of the title track but somehow remaining just as hypnotic.
Seriously, how often do you get bowled over by both bands on a split that makes you interested in the future and past work by the bands. Both Iroha and Fragment. offer excellent works on Bittersweet that force me to hunt down and or be on the lookout for more material from both outfits, which ultimately speaks to the quality songs on this record. Denovali offers a free download of this release, so no one has an excuse for not checking both groups out if their interest is piqued; just be warned because you might get caught up in these songs just like I did.
8.0 / 10
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