I first found myself infected by Bitter Peace on a four band split called ‘New World Black Metal’ highlighting some of the nastiest scourges of the USBM scene. Their coruscating and hateful take on the style had a notable industrialised edge to it and one track as ever was not enough and had me saying I would like to hear more. Well now I have my chance as their second full length following 2011 album ‘Gloficus Vis’ is before me now courtesy of Moribund. The duo of Lance Gifford and The Many have presented a pretty devastating war hewn piece (no peace) of work here. Some of the in between parts forming actual tracks have samples of WWII rallies, speeches, ambient noise and mass murder that really do leave the listener on edge. Indeed the album starts with a long drawn out ‘Initiation’ which crafts a sinister and seething void around it.
This is all described as “pure anti conformism to all that is the status-quo, a warring opus of USBM.” One does wonder whether the more ignorant would listen and think they have found new saviours within the NSBM scene but all I can find is an old statement from the band dissociating themselves with such things; still there is no denying this is edgy and contentious. Opener ‘I Spite’ injects plenty of that with some rabid frantic guitar scything following what sounds like a police radio call to a murder scene. Marduk are not a million miles away from this especially due to the speaking in tongues vocal contortions of singer The Many. You do feel like you have been pitched into a hateful sermon almost praising the sampled violence. By comparison to this surging malevolence, ‘Great Harlot Of Abominations’ literally slithers slowly out the speakers in a vile and fetid oozing clag. Kind of unexpectedly there’s a long flowing guitar solo spiralling out here, something a bit different and it goes well with the creepy crepuscular vibe of the song. There are certainly parts here that detract from strict and rigid orthodoxy to my ears, again there are elements that have an industrial sheen to them and Bitter Peace are not conforming to anything be it musically or thematically. That industrial sheen comes through in the rabid guitar blaze of ‘Elevation Of The Profane Host’ which bolster the otherwise slow and ritualistic parasitical feel of the music. Think of a cross between Horna, Behexen, Mysticum, Demoncy, Marduk and Mayhem over the stench of charred bodies and rotting flesh and you should get the sort of idea as you try not to choke on the image.
With some respite coming from those prolific guitar solos the otherwise relentless flailing strums, incessant battering drums and quagmire of overloaded samples on the likes of ‘Massacre, Mayhem and Hysteria’ are giddy rides that I could see being the perfect accompaniment to the mondo likes of ‘Death Scenes’ or ‘Killing Of America’ in fact I may try that at some stage and see how this goes with the visuals. ‘Harmonious Celebration’ sticks out probably due to it’s wind-milling harmony, which really gets its hooks in, the vocals here are particularly reverential and spine chilling with it. It took a few listens over time to get really into this and feel like I was peeling off some of the grime and getting beneath the surface a bit. Opus II is a particularly savage and virulent exercise in hate, so in a way it’s a pretty perfect soundtrack to life for those of us who listen to such music from choice.
Apparently the third opus ‘The Terrorist Manifesto’ is 2/3 done. I just hope I have a bit of breathing space to recover before that one lands!
(7/10 Pete Woods)