Cursed were not a band who did things by half measures. If you've heard of them, it's likely that you've heard the story of their demise at the hands of a robbery right at the very end of a European tour. A travesty, to be sure, but what more of a fitting way for a band like Cursed to end? It's pretty profound when you consider it; with their bitter lyrical themes about the detrimental and ultimately pointless nature of work, it's an almost perfect irony that they would be destroyed after working so hard.
The band's first full length, logically titled I
, begins in earnest with "Polygraph
" and while some sampled female voice babbles about dismemberment or something we're treated to thick, fast riffs just dripping with crusty sludge, unrelenting drums from a man appropriately nicknamed "The Mauler", and a few screams from vocalist Chris Colohan. As the tempo increases suddenly the music cuts out and we're introduced more formally to Colohan's voice, his voice is throaty, rough and utterly pissed-off.
There is definitely something to be said for Colohan's vocal work. While he may not be an unbelievably original vocalist, and not varied in a particularly noticeable way, he is clearly passionate about every single word he roars into the microphone and never lets up on anger. But more than this, his voice is... catchy. There's no other word for it. Obviously we're not talking Lady Gaga here, but it's undeniable that lines like "line 'em up and point the blame // us and them one and the same
" or "nineteen-seventy-four // you got what you came for
" are delivered with such agreeable aggression that you'll want to mosh like a bastard, or at least nod your head.
The instrumental work is solid throughout the album, the great riffs are made superb by the chunky and distorted tone of the guitar. "The Mauler" constantly beats the *** out of his drum-kit, constantly fitting in fills while keeping in time with the rapid tempo. It's already been mentioned that Cursed have a clear sludge influence, and they explore it most on the two longest songs on the album, "How Great Things Happen When You Give Up Hope
" and "Opposable Thumbs
", more so on the former. This song has the least input from Colohan on the entire album, but doesn't suffer for it. It slowly but surely overwhelms the listener, starting out slowly and dejectedly at first but after a great riff and outstanding bass-line kick in at about the halfway mark the song approaches a victorious climax, while an undiscernable sampled voice presumably begs for mercy.
Cursed have left an interesting legacy, and while there are definitely more prolific bands in the hardcore scene, it's fair to say Cursed had an attitude that is seldom matched, and they kept it throughout their criminally short discography.