Thursday, 13 March 2014
Cursed were from Hamilton Ontario Canada they broke up around 2009 and the majority of their members went on to form the more garage rock influenced hardcore band Burning Love however their members had a great pedigree in the Canadian hardcore scene members having served time in Left For Dead, Ruination, The Swarm, IRE, Haymaker, Acrid and The Black Hand to name but a few! and if you know any of these bands you will know every one of them are an utterly crushing listen and the lessons learnt from their collective experiences have been distilled into the mighty band that was CURSED!
I have to say that though their experience may be based in hardcore Cursed definitely fall into the Modern/Epic crust vein their sound is chock full of fast D-beat type drums super thick and heavy guitars and plenty of fat breakdowns and mournful melodic leads which basically is the formula for this kind of music but it has to be said that these guys were head and shoulders above the majority of their contemporaries and would definitely be in the top 5 of the first load of bands doing this style putting them right up there with originators like Tragedy and From Ashes Rise.
Whilst I am a big fan of Cursed I have to say that it is mainly the first 2 albums i like and more so their debut album "I" from 2003 out of those two. When I first heard "I" i was beyond shocked at the sheer wall of music on display there's thick multi-layered guitars, plenty of serious riffage and the sound has such a serious bottom end it's in danger of blowing out your speakers for example there is the track "1974" which has a breakdown at the end where the riff comes in again and again with layers of guitar until you wonder how much more they can seriously put on there and when the drums kick back in it is the apocalypse in musical form! Yeah they are that good! Above all the songs are memorable and have enough great twists and turns to keep even the most jaded listener hooked in! I cannot understate what an utter juggernaut of an album this is the sheer brilliance of the songwriting and the great playing and sense of dynamics for a band this intense and heavy is staggering!
So second album "II" from 2005 well whilst the sound of the first album has been retained in part the guitars this time are just a little bit cleaner and the production is great but has a little less bottom end than it's predecessor also this time round there's a lot of use of what i can best describe as that specific Voivod style of discordant guitar,where on the preceding album the leads had been sorta mournful and melodic this time round they are a bit more discordant and overall whilst the band still definitely fall into the epic crust style there's more complex song structures giving a slight feel of those sorta "math" metal type bands like Converge or whatever you want to put in there anything from the early Hydra Head records roster really! Still a great album but less of a pummeling than the first, however it's preceding single "Hell Comes Home/Search And Destroy" (2004) contains a brilliant original on the A-side which would not have been out of place on "I" with a seriously brutal run through The Stooges classic on the b-side (a hint of what was to come with Burning Love there i think) However do not be confused there is a song called "Hell comes Home" on the "II" album but it is an orchestral outro not the pummeling A-side that I mention here.
So next up for these guys was an EP in 2006 "Blackout At Sunrise" 3 tracks and the production on this is great it's not as thick and heavy as "I" but not as slick as "II" the a-side title track is a great builder which is just slaying and really one of their best. Of the 2 b-side tracks there is one original which is high speed Cursed business as usual and a cover of "Hawaii" by a Canadian noise rock band called Kittens I have never heard the original and know nothing about Kittens all I can say is it's a good song and they do a bang up job with some seriously gnarly bass rumbling away on this!
And Lastly (as far as studio work at least) comes 2008's "III : Architects Of Troubled Sleep" their last album opening with some scary keyboard and political samples it really sounds like it's building to something there then the album opens with blast beats and a scream and we're off, I stated at the beginning that i was more of a fan of their 1st 2 albums than anything else by them well the reason for this is this final album here the bottom end has been taken right out of the sound whilst the guitars still have a heavy tone there really is little bottom end to this sound and there's even more dischordant guitar lines on here and to me it sounds like they have tried to give themselves a bleak almost Black Metal sound on this album that is in the sound NOT the music! The songs are still fairly decent on here but try this experiment take a good heavy crust album something like say a Tragedy album put it on your stereo and then turn the bass knob to zero there you will basically have the production sound of this album! I'm not ragging on Cursed i reckon this would be a great album if they hadn't chose to record it this way but even turning the bass up to full doesn't help really, I have bought everything Cursed have released except for this album and i still haven't bought it even for completions sake! This album is truly a paradox because the songs are great and i have no idea why you would remove the very thing that makes you sound the way you do... the bottom end! The other thing that is shocking about the production on this album is Radwan Moumneh is a founding member of this band and he is the co-founder of Hotel2Tango studios who pretty much record everything on Godspeed You Black Emperor's Constellation label now whilst the majority of that music is Post-rock and not known for bottom end really you'd still think Radwan Moumneh would be a man who knows a bit about production values??
So very lastly here we have the final release from cursed a 5 track 7" called "The Last Session" recorded live in the UK on their final tour for a radio show the quality is decent enough but being live and a vinyl rip doesn't really match up to the studio stuff I include it here for completions sake.
So there you have it a discography of one of Canada's finest bands, Burning Love are good but they are definitely not in the same league as Cursed and it's a shame they chose to end the band and start something new in a different direction but if more albums that sound like "III" were planned maybe it was the right time.
So your files... you have "I" & "II" ripped from my own CD's at 320Kbps "III" is a download and has 210 Kbps quality but is as good quality as the other albums you can download these separately below there is a further file called "EP's" This contains the "Hell Comes Home" 7" (my own vinyl rip) "Blackout at Sunrise" EP (320kbps from my CD) and the above mentioned "The Last Session" live 7" from a net download of a vinyl rip quality is OK but not amazing. and that's yer lot if you have never heard these before i strongly recommend you start at "I" and work your way forward but these were one seriously PUNISHING band and we are much the poorer for them no longer existing.
CURSED I - Mediafire
CURSED II - Mediafire
CURSED III - Mediafire
CURSED EP'S - Mediafire