"Bitter Halo"

(Spunout Records 2003)

On Drist's debut album, "Bitter Halo," the band tries to establish itself in the nu-metal/hard rock scene. Naturally, they use the tools of any band in that genre: heavy riffs, occasionally screaming vocals, and repetition. But knowing the tools of the trade and performing good songs are two different things and Drist do their best to try and hold your attention with their high energy songs.

Based on the instrumental intro to "Normalcy," you could not have any idea what the rest of Drist's album would sound like. The song's familiar power pop alt rock sound is low key compared to the rest of the album but serves as a fairly welcoming opener. Picking up the pace and sounding heavier, "Sterile" is more interesting and enjoyable with grinding guitar riffs and non-stop drums. Drist change the pace a bit for "Isn't it Something" which relies slightly less on heavy riffs compared to "Fallen," with its distorted vocals and aggressive guitar sound. Slower with a softer side before the lurking heavy side returns, "Dissolve" has a power driven chorus. With bass and drums leading into the heavy riffs of "Undercarriage," Drist offer a darker sounding side. Fast paced with a melodic chorus, "Wrong" offers listeners an obvious hook while drummer Chris Koenig, again, catches your ear on the intense "Girl Icarus." In sharp contrast to the audio assault of "Girl Icarus," Drist go low-key with "Surfacing" and relies more on singer Tyson Yen's vocals - and a tough task he has on the instrumentally quiet verses. Drist end their debut album with "Circular," a song with a lighter edge like "Normalcy" but still retains the harder sound with a melodic chorus.

While Drist offer a well performed album with some nice moments, the songs are not anything that grabs truly grabs your attention or is completely unique. The band's nu-metal and hard rock sound is just about on the level with what you would hear on the radio but it also sounds like a lot of it as well and as the album does not offer a wide range of variety, many of the songs run together. "Bitter Halo" will be of interest to nu-metal fans looking for heavy, high energy songs.


buy it!