Bitter Fall Sweet Rise

It's tempting to describe Sweet Rise as a goth-rock album, but it's more than that. Stylistically, Bitter Fall covers a lot of ground, and it's the overriding sense of anguish that holds it all together. Saturating their songs with keyboards and programming, the Toronto-based band relies on synths for a significant part of their vast sound, but a lot of the album's emotional depth comes from Bernard Kadosh's dramatic vocals. For the doom-y rock of songs like "Drown" and "How Is This Going to End," Bitter Fall could almost be lumped in with metal-esque bands like Katatonia, but tracks like "My Sweet Valentine" fall closer to Nine Inch Nails-type industrial. Sweet Rise also covers the softer end of the spectrum with the mellow title track and even includes a version of the Doors' "People Are Strange." With its diversity and echoingly familiar melodies, this debut could be a collage of Bitter Fall's various influences, but the blend works beautifully. Breathing clouds across the sunniest of days, Sweet Rise is deliciously sorrowful. (Hexagon)