Review Summary: Introducing what should have been the blueprint for bands like Atreyu and Alesana...
Curl Up and Die's first official release works much in the same way as American Nervoso
and Under The Running Board
worked for their respective hardcore success stories - it provides a quick and dirty introduction of a band destined for sonic-greatness into the world of punk music. As any punk music aficionado will tell you though "quick and dirty" can also be breathtaking. The Only Good Bug Is a Dead Bug
is six-track, twenty-some minute thriller that translates well to an energetic live performance. Albeit very rough around the edges this little-known EP showcases the ideas that once refined would spawn the band’s significantly-progressed albums such as, The One Above All, The End of All That Is
, and We May Be Through With the Past but the Past Ain't Through With Us
. These future albums are without a doubt the group's most accomplished works but this release carries the nostalgia and pride of a much too under-appreciated band's early beginnings.
Curl Up and Die's formula throughout this debut EP is a fairly typical one. It is highly reminiscent of late 90's hardcore and speed-metal style already done well by Botch
, and Coalesce
(to name a few), but it also occasionally delves into melodious segments that are usually void of Matt Minnick's unrelenting harsh vocals. In its later offerings the band would become very well known for Minnick’s near poetic-like lyrics. Even though they were never delivered like poetry (unless you think Jake Bannon sounds poetic), they indeed were well thought-out, sincere, and made a base for strong songwriting.
The group’s “bread and butter” throughout is the proficient six-string work of Matt Fuchs. His ability is most noticeable due to the many melodious leads, high-register licks, angular-riffs, palm-muted breakdowns, and other aspects of the album’s stellar guitar sound. Bass work by Ryan Hartery is also solid; his lines contribute heavily throughout whilst featuring some interesting fills. Unfortunately though drummer Jesse Fitts would especially wait until the band's later releases to make his play really stand out. Here he is fairly easy on the toms and double pedal but still provides many capable snare-heavy beats.
The production is sufficient and balanced well enough to showcase the sound of all four members but it is void of many higher budget production "tricks" that may enhance a band's studio efforts further (sadly though many tracks do have movie dialogue thrown in for not so good measure). For these reasons and the fact that each song is about two and a half to four minutes in length these tracks were frequently seen in the band’s live shows - which may give some incentive to fans of the band to check out this release simply for that reason.
This is the starting point for a band that epitomizes what a few equally intelligent and angry young individuals should sound like. It is a shame that Curl Up and Die went relatively unnoticed as we would all be a lot better off if modern metalcore was this passionate and fulfilling to listen to.