Murder by Death
Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon


4.0
excellent

Review

by J. USER (2 Reviews)
October 15th, 2012 | 54 replies | 8,140 views


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Songs for the Drunk and the Dead

5 of 5 thought this review was well written

“I mist inside your house. I linger in your curtains. I wait until you are asleep so that I can speak to you in your dreams. I am as close to you as the veins in your neck when I say to you, in my whispering lisp, "I, too, began as a boy." –Mark Richards “Fishboy”

If the preceding quotation seems esoteric to you then allow me to explain why it is relevant to Murder by Death’s most recent release. Fishboy by Mark Richards is a ghost story told from the point of view of the titular ghost as he makes his way through some sort of fantastic purgatory. As the book unfolds we are told the stories of the myriad other lost souls caught with him on his voyage to his final destination and it is apropos to Murder By Deaths’ “Bitter Drink Bitter Moon”.

Somewhere, in the time between “Who Will Survive and What Will Become of Them” and “Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon” Murder By Death found their comfortable space. They have taken their stories of spirits and revenge and brought them to a new level of maturity, not only lyrically but musically as well.

Stripping down their sound post “In Bocca al Lupo”, with “Red of Tooth and Claw” we saw a group pushing their sound and feeling out of the territory they had laid for themselves. The production was crystal clear and the stories of revenge and lust continued on as they had during the concept album of “Who Will Survive and What Will Become of Them”. Very visceral and immediate, they begin to take on an even more narrative and personal feel. The songs began parading themselves out like stories you would tell around a waning campfire or sitting at a table in your local pub with alcohol sweating out of your pores and the desire to believe anything that you were told, so long as it made you feel something.
“Good Morning, Magpie” changed further, streamlining and perhaps strengthening parts of the songwriting but also losing some of the immediacy of the earlier recordings. While songs like “White Noise” and “King of the Gutters, Prince of the Dogs” were a triumphant continuation of Murder By Death’s evolution the album as whole seemed to lose itself in its muddy production.

With “Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon” we find the band moving beyond the limitations they had seeming placed on themselves by re-introducing keys, adding brass, and even a Theremin to fill out the bones of their sound. The production goes from muddied when needed to crisp and clear. Where songs like Killbot 2000 or Summer Break 1899 gave us stories that occurred as we listened, on “Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon” we find ourselves in the midst of the ghosts of the way things used to be (My Hill), dead children (Hard World), and the call of a homeland to the children that grew up there (Ghost Fields). There is a sense of continuity and growth seven albums in (eight including Finch) that is rarely matched and deserves kudos.

In the end though what really works in Murder by Deaths’ favor is the sense of mastery in their chosen manner of story telling. There seems to be no waste here. The songs are stripped down and at times jubilant belying the subject matter, which they pulled off well on “Good Morning, Magpie” but executed with precision on “Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon”.

These are the songs of the drunken, the dead, and the damned, packaged in a way that you can take the stories as a whole, or alone, and like ghosts the more you linger on them, the more you pay attention to their stories the longer they stay with you. Haunting you.


user ratings (91)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Jruined
October 14th 2012



1254 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

As it should be, criticism is welcome. I already see issues.

ShadowRemains
October 14th 2012



19424 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

haven't heard this yet, although Who Will Survive... is awesome

Jruined
October 14th 2012



1254 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It is. I think their whole discog is though. Although Goodmorning is the least of the 7.


Jruined
October 14th 2012



1254 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Well, 8. I'm not sure that Breakdancing counts.

EyesWideShut
October 15th 2012



3027 Comments


LOVE THIS ALBUM. They took the energy of Who Will Survive and mixed it with the darker mature writing of Magpie.

mitch91
October 15th 2012



408 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I feel the review could do with a bit more discussion of the actual album itself- over half of it is just background (albeit relevant). Its really well written though, so I'll pos.

As for the album, I think its their best- the production is absolutely incredible, there are so many tiny hiddden touches which go unnoticed at first but really add up.

Jruined
October 15th 2012



1254 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks Mitch. I'm going to do a re-write I think and bolster it a bit more.

ShadowRemains
October 16th 2012



19424 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lost river is really good

betlwedl
October 16th 2012



72 Comments


Such a great album, I'm surprised it's getting so little attention. This band was pretty big here at one point.

Digging: The Hotelier - Home, Like NoPlace Is There

TMobotron
Contributing Reviewer
October 16th 2012



6919 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Can't believe I haven't checked this out yet, need to get on that. Who Will Survive... is a 5 for me.

ShadowRemains
October 16th 2012



19424 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is great, so far

Jruined
October 16th 2012



1254 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It grew on me hugely. I liked what I heard of this stuff when they played a few songs in New Have (Hard World and few more) but I had no point of reference to form a real opinion.

It really got under my skin when I sat down and had the chance to listen from start to finish.

Mitch is right though, I need to reference the music more, just how to do so without creating a behemoth of a review.

EyesWideShut
October 16th 2012



3027 Comments


this will probably be a 4.5 for me soon enough. Ghost Fields is such a good closer.

Jruined
October 16th 2012



1254 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hell yes. The only place I feel like it missteps is on Ditch Lilly, I'm not sure why either. I think it's just the placement after Hard World. Feels almost too low key, even though the pace picks up after that.

Turtlestlker
October 21st 2012



816 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Like the review and the album. Like this record more so than Good Morning.

skeames1214
November 1st 2012



2680 Comments


Album rules. I Came Around might still be my favorite song off it.

Inveigh
November 4th 2012



24178 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

damn I had no idea this even came out, I love Red of Tooth and Claw and Who Will Survive to death (cool dad pun)

just d/l this. great review man, has me stoked to hear it

Digging: Symptom - Caverns Of Katabasis

EyesWideShut
November 5th 2012



3027 Comments


yea this one got missed on sput, its so damn good.

Jruined
November 5th 2012



1254 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks guys. I love this sucker. It's one of my top albums of the year. Grows on me the more I listen to it.

TMobotron
Contributing Reviewer
November 6th 2012



6919 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah this rules. Took me a few listens to get deep into it, though the first 2 tracks were amazing on first listen.



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