It’s not very often you put an album on with the expectation of being floored from the very first note. As I was checking social media one day, a friend, Jason VieBrooks (Grip Inc. , Heathen , Exhorder) had shared a video premier for the single ‘Serpent’ from Cincinnati’s War Curse. From the unrelenting beginning of the song, I knew this was something different. The description boasted a guest solo on the track by Kragen Lum ( Heathen, live guitars Exodus). Needless to say I was excited to check this out. ‘Serpent’ pummels right from the start. A very tight band thrashing like maniacs, and adding a new school aggression to the old banger traditions. This sounds like it’s straight from the famed Bay Area Thrash scene, not Cincinnati Ohio. The chunky, precise guitar shredding, the fat low end echoing , and the tank like procession of the drums destroy everything in their path. Wait a minute, this is too good to be true right? I mean nothing violently grabs you by the neck, gets in your face, and demands your attention in this day and age anymore. The catch is coming, I can feel it. The vocals have to be horrible, I mean so far this has all the elements I’m looking for. Then Blaine Gordon roars, and I means roars with such a disdain that the listener has to take notice. That’s the thing with this “thrash revival”, the music is always missing something. It’s sloppy and all over the place for the sake of speed, and lacks any substance. Alright, for arguments sake, let’s say the music isn’t horrible. The vocals will kill it and the excitement will fade. Thankfully for the sake of War Curse, Gordon sounds like a combination of Prong front man Tommy Victor and Chuck Billy from Testament. This song kicks some serious ass, and from start to finish, ‘Eradication’ does not let up.
The album opens up with ‘Asylum’ featuring Glen Alvelais (ex- Forbidden) and sets the tone for what is to come as a whole. As the song ends and blasts right into ‘Sands of Fate’, there is no give. The band is clearly on a seek and destroy mission, they are taking no prisoners. The guitars melt your face, with the harmonies and razor sharp solos. This guitar duo of Justin Roth and Joshua Murphy are a deadly combination, and will hopefully be the standard bearers of modern thrash for some time to come. ‘Possession’ is up next, and leads to this grandiose culmination of pulverization as drummer James Goetz slays with his thunder crushing gallop. The guys aren’t taking any lip here, and this is their declaration. ‘Serpent’ follows, and as previously stated, is a war cry for destruction. There are riffs aplenty all over this album, with a controlled, churning chaos that sets the listener up for the punishment that is coming up around every corner. It’s hidden the melody and harmonies, and then it just hits right between the eyes. By the time we get to the eighth track ‘Deadly Silence’ featuring Kyle Thomas ( Exhorder, Trouble) on vocals you’ll be on the verge of tapping out. As spewed throughout the song, “Now you’re ours, you will not be saved”. Please KT, please War Curse, spare us for another offering, at the very least help us make it to the end of this amazing offering that is collectively known as ‘Eradication’. Thomas and Gordon have a great chemistry going on here as vocals are traded off back and forth. KT sounds amazing here and adds some serious punch to what is already a certified BEAST of a song. The album closes with ‘Polluted Minds’, a nice book end to tie things up. There is real methodical and deliberate pace to this song. The final moments of the song intensify as it fades into the distance. Man, I am exhausted from the collective ass kicking that ‘Eradication’ has just laid on me. This may be the best thrash album I have heard in years, and I want more already.
Overall, War Curse delivers the goods on ‘Eradication’, and I have no reservations about giving this a 10 out of 10. I will go on record and say that this will be in the conversation for album of the year in about nine months. I can not recommend War Curse enough to anyone who might listen. As mentioned earlier, the thrash of today is incomplete. It lacks in areas that made the genre so loved to begin with. I’ve been a modern thrash snob, but always on the lookout for anything that has substance. Bands like Toxic Holocaust, Power Trip, Municipal Waste have done the genre proud as the flag bearers of the new wave of American Thrash Metal. War Curse isn’t waiting on anyone to give them a damn thing, they are taking it. Tracks that really stand out here are ‘Serpent’ , ‘Iron Veil’ , and ‘Deadly Silence’. ‘Eradication’ is eight tracks of pure thrash metal, that has no waiver. The album as a whole stands up to anything that has come out in recent years. The three songs I mentioned are a few that have a special part that just grabs my ears and forces me to pay attention, but make no mistake about it, this album is as solid as it comes. There are no tracks that were skipped over, and I have had the pleasure of letting it sink in for a week or so. It plays start to finish. It is very rare in today’s musical landscape that an album commands your undivided attention from beginning to end. As we get closer to the May 10th release date, check out the first single from the album ‘Serpent’ below.
1- Asylum ( Featuring Glen Alvelais)
2- Sands Of Fate
4- Serpent ( Featuring Kragen Lum)
5- Iron Veil
7- Deadly Silence ( Featuring Kyle Thomas)
8- Polluted Minds
War Curse is:
Justin Roth – Guitar
Joshua Murphy – Guitar
James Goetz – Drums
Jason VieBrooks – Bass ( Album)
Blaine Gordon – Vocals
Johnnie Wallace – Bass