"Have a Nice Death!" is the 2nd full-length album by US, Seattle, Washington based thrash metal act Bitter End. The album was released through Metal on Metal Records in July 2011. Bitter End were formed as far back as 1985 and they released the "Harsh Realities" album in 1990 before disbanding in 1992. They reformed in 2011 though and now 21 years after their debut album came out, they´ve released their sophomore album.
"Have a Nice Death!" is actually more of a compilation type release than a "regular" studio album, as it features both studio recordings, demo recordings and live recordings. Tracks 1-6 were recorded at two different studio sessions in 1991 and 1992 and were supposed to have been used on the band´s planned second full-length studio album, which was shelved as Bitter End disbanded. Tracks 7-10 are the full 1988 "Meet Your Maker" demo. Tracks 11-14 are live recordings from 1990.
Even though the band come from Seattle (guitarist/vocalist Matt Fox was alledgedly a close friend to Alice in Chains's Layne Staley), Bitter End mostly sound like they are a Bay Area thrash metal act. But then again, if I have to compare them to another contemporary thrash metal act it would be Panic (who released a couple of albums in the early nineties and then disbanded), and they were actually from Seattle too. The energy level is high, the riffs sharp and rythmically challenging (there´s even the occasional funky part thrown in) and lead vocalist Matt Fox delivers his raw vocals with an attitude but also with a humourous gleam in the eye. The band also incorporate clean guitar parts with clean singing on top, but honestly Matt Fox falls a bit short when attempting to sing using a clean tone. The sound production is decent but lacks slightly in the power department.
The demo tracks are a bit more raw sounding but no less powerful or effective. It should be noted that all four tracks were included on "Harsh Realities" in re-recorded versions.
The live tracks feature what I would characterize as bootleg sound quality and although it´s pretty interesting to hear how raw Bitter End sounded live around 1990, I can´t say I´m too impressed by the final outcome. This part of the album is for hardcore fans.
So upon conclusion "Have a Nice Death!" is a bit of a mixed bag. A 3 star (60%) rating isn´t all wrong.