Shine light into darkness.
-- Hitherside --
Review written by Stijn "Metal Shredder" Daneels.
[METAL SHREDDER REPORTING]
A couple of months ago, Hitherside put themselves on my radar when they personally contacted me to check out their material. Not long after, my friends at Hard Life Promotion sent over a download for Hitherside’s new album “Blue Lotus.” You’ve guessed it! It’s a similar story as to how I’ve encountered several other sweet bands over the years so it’s shredding time!
“Blue Lotus” is the second album from the Belgian-American alternative metal band Hitherside, which were formed in Antwerp in 2011. This release is distributed through the Dutch Painted Bass Records label and consists of 9 varied tracks. While the songs on “Blue Lotus” have some similar traits, like Jennifer’s soft-spoken voice, grim lyrics and bass heavy, melodic riffs, the songs all have a unique feel to them. The opening track “Unsanctify Me,” for instance, is a hard-pounding song with rough sexually-themed lyrics, while the next track, “Lovely Day to Kill” is a dark tune made even more disturbing by the seemingly joyful vocals, sung from the perspective of a serial killer.
Next up is “My Prediction,” which puts more emphasis on catchy guitars and is an overall slower track compared to the earlier two. Then the “Blue Lotus” title track comes up, a moody and intimate song with a mesmerizing chorus and beautiful guitar work. The following song, “Get It Back,” is the most optimistic track on the album with motivational lyrics about heading out and taking (back) what is rightfully yours. And it also has a drums guest appearance of our country’s very own Dirk Verbeuren (Megadeth’s current drummer).
Then comes “Insignificant Other” another slow burner with a melancholic atmosphere and some epic guitar solos. The next song, “Honeydripper,” starts in similar vein but gradually builds up in riffing power. Things speed up with the juicy sleaze rock track “Knock’Em Down” and finally Hitherside goes in for the heaviest and most diverse track on the album, the piano, industrial and metal trio finale, “Asked But Not Answered.”
Whew, I usually don’t describe an album track-by-track, but with an album this multi-faceted, I think this justifies it. Hitherside’s second full-length features a ton of rock and metal stuff in many flavors and I’m sure there’s at least one of the album’s songs that suits your fancy. But as always, the end of this review will give you a tasty appetizer.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, “Blue Lotus” has plenty of dark themes such as rough sex, violence, mental disorders, adultery and other true-to-life subjects. The album’s cover art, however, is much more bizarre looking with band members Jennifer and Sam’s faces all pale and with glowing white eyes. Their faces actually look a bit like Raiden’s from the Mortal Kombat games. Anyway, it’s pretty strange and contrasting artwork compared to the down-to-earth songs that Hitherside plays on this release.
[SHARPEST SHREDS & BLUNTEST BLADES]
Hard to pick my (least) favorites here, since all songs have a different flavor to them and I admit that I enjoyed them all with a similar amount of vigor but still, hard doesn’t equal impossible. So my top picks go to the rugged opener “Unsanctify Me,” the title track, “Insignificant Other” and finally “Asked But Not Answered.”
As for the weaknesses on this Hitherside album, well, if you’re looking for something very fast, aggressive or bombastic, then look elsewhere. Hitherside plays easily listenable tunes to either rock n’ roll or to relax and reflect on life in its many different forms, both light and dark.
8 Raidens out of 10. With a large variety of sweet tunes, Hitherside’s second album is a musical tree whose branches go into many directions, all supported by a rock-solid foundation! And now it’s time for the dark, yet colorful music video for the “Blue Lotus” title track.