Bart M. : From the golden sands and beaches off the emerald seas of Tunisia, Africa, three gentlemen emerge under the name of Bitter Heart. This band was founded in 2016 and this month has seen the release of their debut album, called 'Rotten'. Somehow I got this image of Tunisia in my head, of a lush country where noble men woo pretty princesses and they often live happily ever after. This is not how it really is, we learn by listening to the lyrics that Bitter Heart sings to us. The songs are mainly about relationships that are not going that well or fail altogether. Song titles as 'Kill Your Dreams' and 'She Kills Me More' support that idea.
To accompany this somber theme I was expecting gloomy, heavy music, approaching doom or even gothic, but Bitter Heart chose something different: a style that is very pleasant to listen to and might best be described as a much darker kind of grunge, a kind that leans clearly towards the heavier side and plays with gothic influences (and I do NOT mean the symphonic metal kind) as well as stoner and heavy metal. All of this put together translates into music that is quite relaxed and remind me of a beautiful, lazy, sunny autumn afternoon that is about to be rudely disrupted. This feeling is maintained by the great guitar play that is constantly treading interesting detours, thus moving the listener's feelings. Exactly at those moments that it really adds something to the music and the atmosphere, the keyboards are used and singer Melik Khelifa is joined on vocals by Jelena Dobric. And by the way, Melik's vocals remind me of those of Kenny Hickey, so that's bonus points! When 'Psychopathic Evil Woman From Hell' starts, a straight in your face song with more groove and less darkness, we can breathe a while and get ready for the very intense climax that is 'Cosmic Orgasmic', where ambiant piano and heavy guitar strophes support a very beautiful vocal duet by the aforementioned singers.
'Rotten' is a special and beautiful album and Bitter Heart manages to make a very good first impression with this debut album. It is clear they know what they want and they have the skills to make it happen. Their influences (Alice In Chains, Type O Negative, etc.) are obvious, but it is not just a copy of what we already know. Bitter Heart takes the good things, adds their own ideas and blends it into a catchy, interesting and unique sound.