As I said on Twitter earlier this week, the new Cursed Earth is lit.
2017 is really becoming the year of the surprise release. Northlane dropped ‘Mesmer‘ out of nowhere back in March, Mindsnare unleashed their ‘Unholy Rush‘ LP in that same month, and while I’m sure there are a couple others I’m forgetting (yet just cannot be arsed to remember), on Friday, September 22nd Perth’s Cursed Earth all of a sudden announced and released the follow-up to their much-lauded five-track EP, ‘Cycles Of Grief Volume 1: Growth‘. So, what is the conclusion of this dark, cruel, and bleak metallic hardcore tale of violence and tragedy that only begets further physical and emotional destruction? The harsh answer and cold aftermath is, fittingly so, ‘Decay‘.
As ‘Enslaved By The Insignificant‘ and ‘Growth‘ before ‘Decay‘ both excellently demonstrated, Cursed Earth aren’t here to fuck spiders, and the sheer onslaught of opener ‘Regression‘ shows that that is still the case for this second and final chapter of the band’s grief-stricken cycle. The lead single from ‘Decay‘ – the personal and emotionally brutal tale of domestic abuse, ‘Rage (The Cost)‘ – maintains the seething anger that flows from vocalist Jazmine Luders as well as the blood-pumping hardcore instrumentals and buzzing HM-2 guitars that her four bandmates deliver. Yet it’s the mid-point track of this new release, ‘Regret‘, that the Western Australia heavy group strike upon their most vitriolic and violent musical concoction thus far, with razor sharp riffs and pounding blast beats; elements they’ve smashed together before, yes, but never quite this potently.
‘Grief‘ slows down their usual marathon pace somewhat (well, at first) and even then, it still fully maintains the group’s almost-unpleasant, overbearing tone of dread as they tackle the awful reality of what comes to those who are neglected by those who are meant to care and love for them as well as disgusting abuse at the hands of said piece’s of shit. Thematically, those horrific ideas are captured so poignantly by the lyrics, and the truly pained vocals that Luders delivers here over a deeply evil groove is incredibly affecting. And it’s the kind of moment I think that only heavy music such as this can create and is just further proof that Cursed Earth are the real fucking deal.
After ‘Exhausted‘, a brief instrumental piece (where the band and whoever engineered this release apparently forgot to turn up the audio sample so people can actually hear what is being said) bridges together the final moments of this cycle completing EP. It’s then that your ears receive the grinding, distorted guitar drone that announces the arrival of closer, External‘. Here, Cursed Earth step foot onto a slightly newer sonic territory with Luders presenting some solid clean vocals; eerie, melodic vocals that not only help create a newer dynamic for the band but vocals that also gel with a supporting music that shows a far more thought out and considered approach to the pace and structure of their so-very-often shorter hardcore sound.
With this being the final entry in a two-part piece and when you put both of these solid EP volumes together as one, you have one of the best hardcore releases you’ll hear within the 365 days that we call 2017. (Well, counting this and that killer End EP, of course). Personally, I bloody love the now complete and cohesive ‘Cycles Of Grief‘ and I don’t care if you do or not.
‘Cycles Of Grief Volume 2: Decay‘ is out right now via UNFD. Don’t be a fuckin’ scrub, go buy it here.
Cursed Earth will be performing at this year’s Invasion Fest in Melbourne on December 9th. All info here.