For a group whose members boast such a long list of bands they used to be in, Chapel Hill trio Bitter Resolve seems awfully cocksure in its stability. In the band's logo that's emblazoned on their T-shirts, Bitter Resolve issues a membership roll-call: Walsh (as in bassist Rob), Dial (guitarist R. Corey), Fitzpatrick (Lauren, the drummer). Given the revolving door of local-band membership, the move seems almost like a taunt. To wit, Fitzpatrick joined Bitter Resolve shortly before the band recorded its debut, 2011's Bows and Arrows Against the Lightning. In interviews, Dial and Walsh refuse to call the drummer she replaced by name.
On their sophomore platter, The Early Interstellar Medium, Bitter Resolve makes good on its boast by making solidity an utmost virtue. Bows and Arrows set a template for the band's grumbling doom; The Early Interstellar Medium works not to upend its predecessor, but to refine its work. There's a sharper focus on the grizzled and bass-heavy riffs, a more prominent presence behind the drum throne. Album opener "The Flood" most fully captures the band's steady development, beginning with a low, thunderous theme and moving gracefully into clearer tones, all without forsaking the insistent plod. While The Early Interstellar Medium is more forceful and dynamic, its progress doesn't complicate Bitter Resolve's simple, effective proto-metal.
Producer Kris Hilbert worked with the band for eight days last July. Hilbert's growing profile includes work with Rhode Island doom-crew The Body and Greensboro grinders Torch Runner; he affords Bitter Resolve an appropriate balance of heavy metal heft and psychedelic space. The band shipped the results to Khanate guitarist James Plotkin (whose mastering credits include far too many loud-rock luminaries to list) for mastering. Those expert contributions helped Bitter Resolve reach new sonic potential, with a fuller and clearer sound nicely complementing the band's new confidence and cohesion.
This article appeared in print with the headline "Fresh efforts."