Review Summary: whoever stole from Cursed deserves to die
Some bands are destined to, unfairly, be attributed with continuing the lineage set in stone by bands before them, pioneers of genres whose star burned out, perhaps in a glorious burst of fury or, much more likely, slowly waned into nonexistence as though an unfed fire with nothing left to burn. This inheritance isn’t always concrete, and in fact, there has never really been any direct inheritor to any progenitor in music. Some bands develop a sound, others refine it, others commit audible heresy with it, life goes on. On occasion, however, you can just tell when a band has taken a sound and distilled it to the point where they are doing it better than anyone else. These bands are few and far between, as it is incredibly hard to agree on what belongs in a genre. Hyperbolic claims aside, Cursed are deserving of this title for their absolute devotion and commitment to keeping the proud flag of hardcore held high and mighty. With palpable intensity, the hole Cursed left after their break-up is one that will most likely remain a void for years to come.
The secret to their quality is hard to discern; was it their cohesiveness as a band, their collective desire to make passionate music with a complete disregard for what people liked? Perhaps it was their unbridled anger, their seemingly effortless ability to tap into a well of emotion and unleash it as explosively as possible. Or, perhaps, it was their disdain for everything around them, the fuel that fed their collaborative blaze. Most likely, however, it’s that they played hardcore by the book; passion, intensity, emotion, and belief, fueled into song after song of uncontrollable rage. They did it without catchy choruses, without an excessive number of exorbitant breakdowns that all sound exactly the same, and without losing their integrity for even a moment. They were true to themselves forever, and this is exemplified perfectly on their second release, the aptly titled II (Two).
Cursed always had a knack for catchy songwriting that, despite being memorable, still took your skull and crushed it under their cumulative consummation of ire; with a thousand pounds of distortion and a charming skill for switching between hardcore and sludge, they never failed to express their desires as arduously as possible. It was this loyalty that made them so endearing; they were angry and they wanted you to feel what they felt. The coalescence on this album, the absolute togetherness of the band is obvious; they know what they’re doing and they’re not afraid to be doing it. The drums are explosive, pounding memorable rhythms into the listener’s head while keeping the rest of the band in check in tandem with the bassist, whose omnipresent muddy tone helps alleviate any minor repetition the band may encounter. The riffs on this album combine incredible ferocity mixed with a subtle element of melody, which, when juxtaposed against the wall of dissonance that is composes most of the band’s sound, gives an accurate portrayal of how dynamic yet effective the sound is here. Add to this mix the tendency of Cursed to switch between slow and destructive to breakneck rapid gives them a varied sound many other bands despondently grasp at but never achieve. The root of all their intensity, as well as the heart of their passion, lies in the vocals, which sound at all times moments away from a broken microphone and a black-eyed producer. Every single line, every single lyric is shouted with a conviction that is unmatched.
If, at this point in time, you find yourself still deprived of hearing Cursed, fix this immediately. To reiterate, immediately
. They may be dead, but do not let them be forgotten.