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Curse The Son – Excruciation Award winner

Curse The Son
by Gary G. Hernandez at 19 July 2020, 2:37 PM

When you see a band name like CURSE THE SON you might be expecting some Blackened Death Metal extoling the virtues of necromantic rituals. What you get instead is bone-rattling Doom Metal that inspires resilience in the face of bleak realities. And that, brothers and sisters, is the raison d'être for Metal. Well, that and to raise holy hell, which CURSE THE SON also excels at. “Excruciation” is a testament to both.

This power trio formed in 2007 and hail from New Haven, Connecticut, US. They’ve produced a steady flow of material since, including one EP and four full-length albums. Their fourth album, “Excruciation,” was released June 12, 2020 on Ripple Music. I say “steady flow” but it has actually been three plus years since we last heard from the boys. If you’re looking for reasons . . . well, take your pick. The band references “challenges” and there are probably clues enough in the lyrics. They say the arts are mankind’s reaction to his environment, so yeah, challenges. In the end though, we rise from the ashes. As the band sings in “Phoenix Risin’,” “Blackened wings upon your throne / Send your fires high / There's a sky above you.”

What to say about CURSE THE SON as a whole? Their fuzzed-out riffs will eradicate all the dust from your woofers and compel you to worsen your already crippling tinnitus. It’s amazing they wring all that distortion out of a single guitar (Ron Vanacore), but then again adding another guitarist would require the band to register as a weapon of mass destruction. This isn’t to downplay the other band members. I mean, you can’t have a power trio without a devastatingly strong rhythm section, and both Brendan Keefe (bass) and Rob Ives (drums) are just that. With that said, we can probably say that at this point in their career, and certainly on evidence of this album, CURSE THE SON has earned the moniker of consummate Doom Metal band.

The album kicks off with a song for our times, “Suicide By Drummer.” I don’t know if the title is a dig at drummers — I mean because drummers, right? — or if it suggests the world is rhythmically bludgeoning itself to death. Either way, the track cranks. Next out of the gates is “Disaster In Denial,” which despite the grandiose title is actually about love gone wrong. So, we go from universal destruction to personal heartache, but I guess we’ve all been in that relationship at least once and, yeah, it does feel like the end of times.

Before I fall into the trap of a track-by-track review, I’ll just touch on the highlights. Standout tracks are “Novembre,” a slow-grinding, introspective and the longest track on the album; “Worry Garden,” a boots of lead romp through a darkened soul with killer (and diverse) guitar solos and pensive bass interludes; and “Black Box Warning,” a sonically rich and lyrically scathing track with a turbo launch at the 3:45 mark. Of course, the final track, “Phoenix Risin’” (featuring Joe Delany of JOETOWN on lead vocals and lead guitar) is a masterpiece. If “Suicide By Drummer” is the perfect start for the album, “Phoenix Risin’” is the perfect conclusion. It looks back on the album and says: And despite of all that, we shall prevail.

Curious pieces? “Devil Doctor Blues” is an old-timey blues number about the poison in the cure. Sonically, it differs from everything else on the album, but in spirit it falls right in place. Regrets? I wasn’t a fan of title track “Excruciation” from a musical standpoint, although lyrically it just may be the nexus of the entire album and I’m sure there’s people who will cite it as the best song on the album.

The world may be collapsing in 2020, but it has been a great year for Doom Metal (maybe a correlation there). “Excruciation” is likely to be one of the best Doom albums of the year. This is an impeccable offering from a band that just keeps getting better. Here’s hoping we’ll soon see them live and in person.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Suicide By Drummer
2. Disaster In Denial
3. Novembre
4. Worry Garden
5. Excruciation
6. Infinite Regression
7. Black Box Warning
8. Devil Doctor Blues
9. Phoenix Risin'
Brendan Keefe – Bass, vocals
Ron Vanacore – Vocals, guitars
Rob Ives – Drums
Record Label: Ripple Music


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Edited 03 October 2022

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