Album review: Dying Wish – Fragments Of A Bitter Memory

Portland metalcore crew Dying Wish announce their arrival on no-holds-barred debut, Fragments Of A Bitter Memory. Buckle up…

Album review: Dying Wish – Fragments Of A Bitter Memory
James MacKinnon

To cram the first 90 seconds of your debut album with not just one, but two brutal breakdowns you need to be either brave or stupid. Dying Wish are neither. The Rose City metallers are simply just that good to pull it off – and Fragments Of A Bitter Memory abounds with such head-turning moments.

There is a tendency in metalcore to restlessly jump from idea to idea, and it’s here where many bands come unstuck. If you pull it off, it’s a flex; if you don’t, it comes off as flinging half-baked shit at the wall. Where Dying Wish excel is in stuffing each song with more memorable hooks than Captain Hook’s tackle box. The clean melodic section of Severing The Senses may only last 15 seconds, but it’s not arbitrary – it’s a gasp for air before the hammer comes down.

Lyrically, Dying Wish pull no punches, either. Blood Laced Misery touches on institutionalised racism in the land of the free, but the injustices vocalist Emma Boster rails against across several tracks strike much closer to home. The title-track divulges the terror of growing up with a violently alcoholic stepfather, Emma torn between sympathy for the devil (‘Still chose to love you despite the demise of the man I had once known’) and desire for revenge (‘I would bury you if I could’).

Yet in these bleakest of personal moments, the band’s keen instincts always steer towards a cathartic climax. Even after Emma and Knocked Loose’s Bryan Garris have traded verbal barbs for several rancorous minutes on Enemies In Red, a snare roll from Jeff Yambra launches them into a breathless, punishing rampage to the finish.

And so the highlights keep rolling on. Fragments Of A Bitter Memory is an album you need in your life, with songs as catchy as they are human.

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: Knocked Loose, Year Of The Knife, Sanction

Fragments Of A Bitter Memory is released on October 1 via SharpTone

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